Foot-and-mouth disease confirmed at two hog farms in South Korea

Jul 28, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen,

South Korea confirmed that it is dealing with two cases of food-and-mouth disease in more than three years, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

The outbreak was first discovered at a hog farm in Uiseong County, about 155 miles southeast of Seoul. The additional case was found at a pig farm in North Gyeongsang Province. Testing confirmed the presence of the disease.

Foot-and-mouth is an infectious disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including pigs, cattle, goats and sheep. The virus causes fever and blisters inside the mouth and feet of livestock. It has the potential to cause lameness, and in extreme cases, can be fatal.

According to the ministry, the foot-and-mouth disease occurred in pigs that were unvaccinated. Most of the country’s pork producers already vaccinate against the type “O” strain of the disease, which is the strain detected in the infected herds.

The first infected herd of approximately 600 hogs, will be put down to contain the disease. The second farm has 2,000 pigs, with only eight animals had showing symptoms of the disease at the time of detection.

The farms in question have been put under quarantine to prevent possible spread of the disease. The ministry originally said that it was unlikely that the disease had spread.

Between 2010 and 2011, South Korea had a nationwide outbreak of the disease which lead to the culling of about a third of the country’s hog population - nearly 3.5 million animals. The estimated cost of the outbreak in 2011 is pegged at US$2.6 billion.

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