South Korea was hit by a new wave of foot-and-mouth disease for the second time this year. However, this time the country reported the phenomenon as a high level alert. The foot-and-mouth disease affects primarily cloven-hoofed animals. The usual main concerns of the authorities are cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and bison that are vital for the national economy. Once the virus infects the victims, they have between two to six days of fever which culminate with blisters on the feet and inside the mouth. Any outbreak is a dangerous case for all farmers as the virus is spread through the air or from infected farming tools.
On Thursday, the Agriculture ministry of Seoul notified a high level alert status regarding an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The first sign of the disease was noticed at a dairy farm located only at 50 miles away from the capital city. Shortly after the discovered A-type strain, a second outbreak was identified in the southeast Korea that bears the mark of the O-type strain. Immediately afterward the ministry declared the situation to be at the maximum level of alertness.
The deputy minister for food industry policy, Kim Kyeong-kyu, explained the severity of the situation. The fact that the country was affected by the foot-and-mouth disease from two different directions represented a serious issue. However, it was only when the second type of virus was discovered that urged authorities to give their full attention to the matter.
This is the first time in seven years when the South Korea faces a high level alert. Back in 2010, the country suffered the worst-ever outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. In order to prevent the situation to get out of control, the ministry has already ordered that all cattle receive a vaccine against the O-type strain.
On the other hand, the authorities weren’t fully prepared to coordinate such a large-scale operation. They didn’t have enough vaccines that can protect domestic animals against both types of viruses. The ministry is going to import new such stocks from manufacturers. Moreover, there is no decision regarding hogs yet. The country has a total of 3.14 million cattle and 10 million hogs. However, since only cattle were infected by this disease so far, no measure was taken regarding the hogs yet.
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