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Risk of foot-and-mouth expansion in Japan

Japan faces a "high risk" that an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease may spread from southwestern Miyazaki prefecture to other livestock regions, according to new Agriculture Minister Masahiko Yamada.

"Japan is in a critical situation where the disease may break out anywhere, anytime," as infected animals are still alive, Yamada told reporters in Tokyo today. "We must speed up culling and burying them." Miyazaki is Japan's second-largest pig-farming region and third-largest producer of beef cattle.
The country has so far discovered 185,999 cases of the disease, of which 152,871 were in pigs and 33,111 were in cows and cattle, according to the agriculture ministry. They represent 1.5 percent of Japan's total swine herd and 0.7 percent of total cattle.
The government has buried about 154,000 culled animals, Tomohiro Nishio at the ministry's animal health division said today by phone. Japan plans to slaughter an additional 122,000 animals, including uninfected ones, to prevent the disease from spreading further, Nishio said.


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