South Korea has decided to greatly expand animal vaccinations to stem outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), which continues to spread throughout the country despite nationwide quarantine efforts, the government said.
Press agency Yonhap reported that farm minister Yoo Jeong-bok said that shots will be administered to all animals in Gyeonggi Province surrounding Seoul and large parts of Chungcheong in the country's central region. It is unclear if 'all animals' now also includes pigs.
Entire country vaccination
The minister added that vaccines are to be given to animals in mountainous Gangwon Province to the east of the capital city along with North Gyeongsang Province on Korea's southeastern coast, which reported the first outbreaks. "Areas that are vulnerable to the spread of the animal disease will be given vaccines as a precautionary step, even if no Foot-and-Mouth Disease
cases have been reported," he said.
The announcement means that Seoul is moving to effectively vaccinate the entire country, since Jeolla Province on the country's southwestern coast and the resort island of Jeju are the only regions that have not been hit by FMD so far.
Outbreaks & figures
The South Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF) confirmed five fresh outbreaks on Monday.
Following the confirmation of the first outbreak in late November last year, a total of 82 cases have been reported, along with a few other outbreaks that are not officially counted since the animals were culled before test results came in.
Quarantine authorities have ordered the culling and burial of more than 668,000 head of cattle, pigs, goats and deer in five provinces and the port city of Incheon, 40 km east of Seoul.
The latest FMD outbreak has spread through five provinces and Incheon, the country's second-largest seaport. More than 500,000 livestock are slated to receive vaccines, although the numbers may go up in the coming days.
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