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South Korea: FMD cull rates in pigs to one third of total inventory

The recent Foot-and-Mouth (FMD) outbreak in South Korea has caused one third of the country's pig herd to be destroyed, delegates at the fifth APVS Congress were told.

The outbreak was first notified in the end of November 2010, after which the whole country rapidly got infected. This latest FMD outbreak was discussed in several keynote presentations at the Asian Pig Veterinary Society (APVS) Congress, held in Pattaya, Thailand, 7-9 March.

Pig numbers
Sacha Seneque, Merial Australia, spoke about FMD and cooperation in the Asian region and indicated that as from February 21st, a total of 3.40 million pigs had to be culled due to the FMD spread. Of this number, 3.25 million are pigs. Before the outbreak, pig numbers in South Korea amounted to 9.9 million – now about one third has been lost. 

In addition, 151,000 heads of cattle had to be culled and so had relatively small amounts of deer and goats.

Seneque reminded the Asian pig veterinarians that South Korea had successfully applied a strategy which included ring vaccination during two earlier outbreaks of FMD in 2009 and 2010 – the current one however requires a stronger approach. The most updated maps reveal most of the country’s north, middle and south east have been hit hard, with strong effects on daily life as prices for milk and pork have gone up; water and soil may be contaminated due to buried carcasses; meat consumption is decreasing; agricultural jobs are lost; and festivals have to be cancelled due to transport restrictions.

Long-term approach
Seneque mentioned Asian initiatives in the long-term ‘SEACFMD’ plan, in which many Asian countries work together to find a longer-term solution for FMD. Key to this approach is the identification of four sources of FMD. These will get emphasis to get control and will be bordered by buffer zones. This approach of international cooperation is meant to eventually eradicate FMD from the mainland of South East Asia – just like in the Philippines or Indonesia.

The four regions identified as potential sources of FMD are South Thailand, the heart of Myanmar, the southern tip of Vietnam and a region comprising north west Vietnam and a part of Laos.

Related websites:
• Merial
• APVS Congress

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