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FMD spreads through central S. Korea

South Korea's foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has continued to spread through the central part of the country despite nationwide quarantine efforts, the government said Monday.

   The farm ministry said a pig farm in Boryeong, 170 kilometers southwest of Seoul, tested positive for FMD, along with a cattle farm in Chuncheon, east of the capital city.

   The outbreak in Boryeong marks the third time that the central province has reported an outbreak after the first case was confirmed there over the weekend.

   Quarantine authorities said all 72 heads of cattle and 23,000 pigs have been ordered destroyed with other livestock within a 500-meter radius of both farms ordered culled and buried as a precautionary measure.

    The latest FMD outbreak that began on Nov. 29 has spread through five provinces and Incheon city, the country's second-largest seaport.

   There have been 79 confirmed cases and several other outbreaks that have not been officially counted because the animals were culled before the test results came in. Seoul has ordered the culling of over 662,000 animals so far with 452,000 livestock slated to receive vaccines.

   FMD is highly contagious and affects all cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, pigs, deer, goats and buffalo, although it is harmless to humans. It is classified as a "List A" disease by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health.

   The country was hit by the disease in 2000, 2002 and two more times early last year.

(Yonhap News)

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