Foot-and-mouth disease confirmed at South Korean pig farm

It’s been over a year since foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was last confirmed in South Korean livestock, but new reports have now been confirmed just northwest of Seoul. Fortunately, the disease is believed to be contained.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed a single case of FMD at a hog farm in Gimpo, which is about 20 miles away from the capital city of Seoul. As a result, about 900 pigs were culled to lessen the risk of FMD spreading, and the country’s FMD alert status was raised.

The ministry noted also that because producers in the country are diligent about vaccinating their livestock against the virus, it was unlikely that FMD would spread from this case.

FMD and its risks

In some parts of the world, FMD is mostly eradicated, such as in North America, Australia and parts of Europe. In other places, like much of Asia, South America and Africa, it’s still a threat to livestock.

FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that causes infected animals to suffer painful blisters, which can lead to other symptoms like depression, anorexia, lameness, lethargy and fever. It isn’t usually deadly, but can dramatically decrease the production of meat and milk, which can have huge economic impacts to producers.

Farmers in South Korea and elsewhere depend on their strict biosecurity efforts to prevent the risk of FMD spreading through their herds, or to prevent FMD from appearing in areas where it’s been erased. These methods can include:

  • Routine cleaning with agricultural disinfectants that are proven effective in killing FMD-causing viruses.
  • Restricting visitor access to animals, especially visitors from FMD-impacted areas.
  • Documenting the movement of people, animals and equipment.
  • Making purchases from reputable suppliers.
  • Isolating new animals for at least two weeks before herd introduction.

Neogen is a provider of numerous animal safety solutions, including disinfectants proven to be able to kill off FMD-causing viruses.

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