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Japan: FMD spread in pigs, cattle steadily slowing down

The spreading of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Japanese Miyazaki prefecture seems to be steadily slowing down, according to the latest data provided by the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

There are still new outbreaks to be noted near towns and cities where no preventive vaccinations have been applied against FMD.

The spread, however, occurs at a lower pace than it has spread in the past couple of weeks. At the moment, 291 Japanese farms have been confirmed infected through PCR tests and over 200,000 animals had to be culled. This included 162,174 swine, 37,102 cattle and 17 goats and sheep.

The quarantine work in Miyazaki prefecture, the country's most important livestock production zone, is only proceeding slowly as a result of the rainy season. The first outbreak of the disease in Miyazaki prefecture was confirmed about two months ago.

Feed transports suffering
The disease has not only devastated the prefecture's livestock industry, but is also wreaking havoc on trucking and tourism-related businesses, Japanese newspaper Mainichi Daily News reports.

In the Miyazaki prefecture town of Kunitomi roughly 30 km southwest of Kawaminami, where many cases were reported, around 10 trucks sit in the parking lot of a company that transports feed for cows.

The company picks up feed sent over from Australia and other locations at Shibushi Port in Kagoshima prefecture, and carries it to farms in central Miyazaki prefecture. Since the outbreak of FMD, the number of cattle being slaughtered has come up, and orders for feed have decreased. Sales in June were reportedly about 30 to 40% of the 2009 figure.

In a Miyazaki Prefectural Government survey of 620 commercial and industrial companies in central Miyazaki prefecture, 85% of the companies said they had suffered poorer sales or other adverse effects from the outbreak. Two-thirds of firms in the transportation industry said their sales had fallen anywhere from 30% or more to 70% or more.

Tourism
The tourism industry has also been affected. Figures from the 178-member Miyazaki Hotel Ryokan Organization show that accommodation and conferences for 34,000 people were cancelled over a period of about one month after the outbreak, causing a loss of 265 million yen (US$2.92 million) in bookings.

Related websites:
• International Society for Infectious Diseases
Mainichi Daily News

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