More FMD discovered in South Korea

Related tags South korea Foot-and-mouth disease

A new case of foot-and-mouth disease has been discovered at a farm
in central South Korea, increasing concerns from Europe and Japan
that football fans there for the World Cup will carry the disease
with them as they move around.

The eyes of the world are focused on South Korea at the moment as the country co-hosts the football World Cup with Japan, but farmers in Europe and elsewhere are concerned more about the threat to livestock than the success of their country's team.

This is because the South Korean authorities have announced the discovery of another case of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) at a farm in the centre of the country, raising concerns that the highly contagious disease could be brought back from to Europe by visiting football fans.

The Korean authorities have slaughtered one pig showing symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease at the farm in Pyongtaek, some 100 kilometres south of Seoul, although more tests will need to be carried out before deciding whether to slaughter all 1,500 pigs on the farm. Tens of thousands of farm animals at farms in Ansung, Jinchon and Yongin districts near Pyongtaek have already been culled in an effort to contain the epidemic.

EU Health Commissioner David Byrne has already warned European football fans not to bring back FMD when they return from the championships, especially as the UK, which suffered a massive FMD epidemic last year, has only just been declared free of the disease.

But Europe is not the only region concerned. Japan is particularly worried about the spread of the disease because of the fact that it is co-hosting the World Cup and fans will be travelling back and forth between the two countries. FMD, which is harmless to humans, can be carried on the shoes of fans.

South Korea has stressed that the outbreaks have all taken place some distance from the cities where the football matches are taking place, with Suwon, the nearest host city, some 40km away.

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