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S. Korea culls more than 3 mln livestock to control FMD

All Headlines 14:22 February 02, 2011

SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's quarantine authorities said Wednesday that they ordered the culling of more than 3 million animals to control the spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

The farm ministry said 142 cases of the highly contagious disease have been reported nationwide so far, including an outbreak in Hongseong, 150 kilometers south of Seoul, late Tuesday, after the first outbreak was confirmed on Nov. 29.

It said that while nationwide vaccinations were ordered for all 13 million heads of cattle and pigs in the country, with inoculations administered from Dec. 25 onward, the outbreak is estimated to have caused damage exceeding a minimum 1.5 trillion won (US$1.34 billion), although the number could easily exceed the 2 trillion won mark.

The government has destroyed a total of 148,000 heads of cattle, 2.87 million pigs and over 7,000 goats and deer as the disease has spread across six provinces and two large cities.

Quarantine experts said that because so many people will move around the country during the three-day-long Lunar New Year holiday that runs through Friday, there is a risk of people inadvertently spreading the highly contagious animal disease.

Even after being vaccinated, animals could still contract the disease, which would compel the continued culling of infected animals.

Seoul, which had ordered wholesale culling, has switched to a policy of limiting the destruction of animals to those that have symptoms and animals who were given shots too late to have developed antibodies to combat possible infection.

Aside from FMD, the ministry said 5.41 million ducks and chickens have been culled to counter the avian influenza outbreaks first reported on Dec. 31. A total of five provinces and cities have reported outbreaks so far, with the government officially confirming 40 individual cases.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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