South Korea said Monday that it has confirmed an additional case of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the southeastern part of the country, fueling fears that the contagious animal disease continues to spread despite stepped-up quarantine efforts.
The Ministry of Agriculture said cattle raised in a farm located in Uiseong, 334 kilometers southeast of Seoul, were found to be infected with the highly contagious disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals.
"The FMD case was found among cattle culled and buried as part of quarantine efforts before infection tests were not completed," a ministry official said.
The ministry said it has ordered all cloven-hoofed livestock to be destroyed within a 500-meter radius of the farm.
So far, South Korea has reported 45 suspected FMD cases since a Nov. 29 outbreak in Andong, about 270km southeast of Seoul. Of them, 32 have tested positive for the disease while four additional cases have been confirmed among cattle destroyed before test results came in, according to the ministry.
Quarantine officials said they have destroyed a total of 147,173 heads of livestock from 628 farms in a bid to prevent the disease from spreading further.
Seoul, which first reported an FMD case in 2000, was hit with cases again in 2002 and two more times earlier this year.
FMD affects all cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, pigs, deer, goats and buffalo, and is classified as a "List A" disease by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health. Countries that report the disease are barred from exporting meat from cloven-hoofed animals. (Yonhap News)