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S. Korea confirms two more outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease

All Headlines 09:10 April 10, 2010

SEOUL, April 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's agriculture ministry said Saturday that it has confirmed two more foot-and-mouth outbreaks on Ganghwa Island, 58 kilometers west of Seoul.

The cattle and pig farms are located within 3.5km of the site where another outbreak was reported early Friday, according to the ministry.

Animals at the farms showed symptoms such as blisters in the mouth, swelling of the oral cavity and profuse salivation, requiring detailed testing by the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service, it said.

The highly contagious disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, hogs, deer and goats.

All 90 "hanwoo" beef cattle and 1,500 pigs are being culled and buried to prevent the spread of the disease, while 315 livestock that are within a 500-meter radius of the farms are to be destroyed as a precautionary measure.

The three outbreaks tallied for Friday and Saturday are the first cases to be confirmed since Jan. 30, when the disease hit the Pocheon and Yecheon areas north of Seoul.

They also come after Seoul formally announced that it was "clear" of the animal disease on March 23. Authorities had destroyed 5,956 animals at the cost of 42.5 billion won (US$37.9 million) to try to stem the outbreaks earlier in the year.

The ministry, meanwhile, said roadblocks have been set up to decontaminate vehicles and control the movement of livestock from all nearby farms.

Under standing quarantine rules, all movement of livestock will be banned for animals within a 3km of a contaminated farm, while close monitoring will be maintained for all animals up to 20km away.

However, it said the latest outbreak must be viewed separately from the six cases confirmed in January, since there is too wide of a time gap for a physical connection to exist.

Laboratory tests showed that the latest outbreak was caused by the "O type" virus strain of the disease that hit the country in 2000 and 2002, as opposed to the "A type" that was reported in the country earlier in the year. The "O type" tends to spread more quickly among pigs.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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