South Korea confirmed two additional cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) on Ganghwa Island and in Gangwon Province on Friday, as it prepares to use vaccines to stem the spread of the animal disease.
The latest case was found at pig farm in Ganghwa Island off the west coast and small cattle ranch in Hoengseong, 140 kilometers to the east of Seoul, after animals started showing symptoms such as excessive drooling and blisters on their mouths and noses earlier in the week, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.
It said all 945 animals at the farms have been ordered culled, along with those within a 500-meter radius.
The outbreak in Hoengseong is the second to be reported in one of the country’s top premium beef production areas, while the case in Ganghwa is the first to be reported on the island which is part of the city of Incheon. There have been several outbreaks discovered in nearby Gimpo, Paju and Goyang.
Related to the latest outbreak, the most severe in South Korea’s history, the government announced Wednesday that it will opt to vaccinate animals after nationwide quarantine and decontamination efforts failed to prevent the disease from spreading. The vaccines will be administered starting Saturday.
After the first case was confirmed on November 29 in North Gyeongsang Province, the disease spread to Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces and Incheon.
FMD is highly contagious and affects all cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, pigs, deer, goats and buffalo, although it is harmless to humans. It is classified as a “List A” disease by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, with countries that report outbreaks barred from exporting meat.