SKorea orders culling of some 2 mln livestock to fight FMD

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Seoul, Jan 18 (Yonhap) South Korea has ordered theculling of close to 2 million livestock across the country inorder to slow the spread of the highly contagious foot andmouth disease (FMD), the government said.

The farm ministry said yesterday it has ordered a littleover 1.98 million cattle, pigs, goats and deer destroyed on4,155 farms since the first FMD case was confirmed on November29.

In the past 50 days, the country confirmed 120 officialoutbreaks in five provinces and the port city of Incheon, westof Seoul, despite extensive quarantine efforts.

Seoul also began giving vaccine shots to animals onDecember 25 as the disease effectively spread across thecountry.

As of early Monday, quarantine authorities had orderedthe vaccination of 3.58 million animals, with numbers likelyto go up in the coming days.

"Since the start of vaccinations, there has been less FMDsuspected cases being reported," an official said. He addedthat in the past, vaccinations usually allowed outbreaks tocome under control in about a month.

The vaccination of animals marks the first time since2000 that the government has ordered the giving of shots.

Besides the 2000 FMD outbreak, the country was hit by thedisease in 2002 and two more times early last year.

The farm ministry, meanwhile, said it confirmed 26 casesof bird flu in the country, mainly in the southwestern andeastern parts of the country, with 3.57 million ducks andchickens being ordered culled and buried to contain the spreadof avian influenza. (Yonhap)

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