South Korea to cull cattle after outbreak of foot and mouth disease

SEOUL — South Korean authorities have ordered the culling of several hundred cattle and put in place biosecurity measures after confirming cases of foot and mouth disease in farms in a central province, the ministry of agriculture said.

The cases mark the first confirmed outbreak since January 2019, according to media reports.

The current contagion occurred in three farms in Cheongju in North Chungcheong province, south of the capital Seoul, the ministry said.

“Related agencies and local governments are asked to make all-out efforts on preventive measures … to stop further spread of foot-and-mouth disease,” Vice Agriculture Minister Kim In-joong said in a statement.

Foot and mouth disease is highly transmissible and causes lesions and lameness in cattle, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals, but does not affect humans. 

A team has been sent to the area to investigate the outbreak, disinfect farms in surrounding areas and put in a place a 48-hour halt on the movement of people and livestock in the area, the ministry said.

Authorities planned to cull about 360 cattle, the statement said.

Foot and mouth vaccinations and tests were also being conducted on cattle farms in and near Cheongju, it said. — Reuters