Published Date: 2019-03-12 18:33:17
Subject: PRO/AH> Foot & mouth disease - North Korea: cattle, susp, RFI
Archive Number: 20190312.6364014
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE - NORTH KOREA: CATTLE, SUSPECTED, REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
Date: Thu 7 Mar 2019
Source: Daily NK [abridged, edited]
In the wake of the South Korean government's battle to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease [FMD] following an outbreak in 3 farmhouses in the cities of Anseong and Chungju earlier this year , North Korean livestock industry insiders have reported to Daily NK that North Korea is also struggling with a nationwide spread of the disease outbreak that began in the middle of January .
Multiple sources across 3 regions of North Korea reported that FMD outbreaks in their respective areas have led to the deaths of many work cattle on collective farms. During the early stage of the outbreak, it was assumed that the cows had died from malnutrition. But as the number of deaths increased, a veterinary disinfection agency launched an investigation and concluded that it was FMD.
South Korea's intelligence agency has also received information on the outbreak in North Korea and is monitoring the spread of the disease and the country's response. FMD can spread through the air, and if it reaches the border region, the South Korean authorities will have to enact measures to deal with it.
"To prevent the spread of FMD, North Korea's veterinary inspection agency declared [7 Mar 2019] as a national disinfection day and ordered multi-lateral disinfection efforts focusing on collective farms ... although some farms have expressed concerns that due to lack of supplies, disinfection measures might be ineffective and the disease will spread," a source in Jangang Province told Daily NK. Another source in North Pyongan told Daily NK that "in the Uiju and Chongju regions close to Yalu River, the outbreak killed many cows, but there were no proactive measures, and the farms continue to be affected." A source in Ryanggang Province reported similar developments in that province's Samsu region.
When a FMD outbreak is detected in South Korea, a nationwide ban on the transport of all cloven-hoofed animals is issued, and livestock in farms around the outbreak are preventatively culled. When the disease 1st emerged this winter [2018-2019] in Anseong, the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture conducted a nationwide vaccination of all cows and carried out disinfection measures focusing on livestock farms and transportation routes. North Korea also quarantines outbreaks of FMD and announces measures for disinfection and cure. Pig and cow carcasses are buried, and cloven-hoofed animals are banned from sale in the markets.
However, the vast majority of collective farms lack appropriate supplies such as disinfectants and quicklime. They also lack an understanding of the disease itself and frequently expect the disease to resolve itself naturally while in quarantine. According to defectors who worked in the industry, when outbreaks occur in North Korea, the livestock protection agency is responsible for setting up restrictions on livestock transport. In addition, local heads of people's committees and rural management committees in the affected cities and counties hold meetings to discuss preventive measures.
Through state media in 2011, North Korea revealed that around 10 000 pigs and cows were infected with FMD and several thousand head of livestock died. A national emergency veterinary disinfection committee was organized, and a nationwide "emergency disinfection" was declared.
A defector who was previously a high ranking official in the livestock industry spoke to Daily NK about the recent developments. "1st, it's important to improve the animals' nutrition to develop resilience against the disease ... a nationwide emergency anti-epidemic period should be declared, and a disinfection process should be carried out in livestock breeding facilities, collective farms, and livestock farms and continually monitored," he said, asking that his name not be used for the protection of his family still in the North. "If FMD occurs in North Korea, it can affect the South as well, so emergency aid to assist the North with preventive measures should be considered," the defector added. "It will be most effective if the South and North directly meet and discuss the assistance, because it will take too long to ask for help from an international agency. The associated investigations and the transport of materials take a long time."
[byline: Jo Hyon; translated by Yongmin Lee]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[The Daily NK website is published in Seoul, South Korea's capital. Its president claims to "directly support a robust network of dedicated citizen journalists inside North Korea, who risk their lives on a daily basis to share news from the ground". In spite of the apparently subjective nature of such a source, we opted to post the above report addressing FMD in North Korea in view of the rarity of epidemiological data becoming available from or about this country.
South Korea notified the OIE on 29 Jan 2019 about a new outbreak of FMD serotype O affecting dairy cows on a commercial farm in Geumgwang-myeon, Anseong, Gyeonggi-do province, about 100 km south of the border with North Korea (map at http://tinyurl.com/y5a2ymkl). This serotype O FMD virus strain has been genotyped as topotype ME-SA, lineage Ind-2001, sub-lineage 'e'. For the full genotyping report, including listed most closely related sequences (S. Korea 2017, China 2018, Malaysia 2018) and a dendogram, please see http://www.wrlfmd.org/sites/world/files/quick_media/WRLFMD-2019-00008-SKR-GTR-O-O_001.pdf.
A previous FMD outbreak in South Korea took place in March 2018 in the same province (Gyeonggi-do). It involved domestic pigs infected by FMD virus strain serotype A, topotype Asia, lineage SEA-97.
North Korea's most recent annual report to the OIE covered 2016. According to the included information, FMD serotype O was present in the country during 2016, causing 24 outbreaks; earlier, the disease was reported during 2014 and 2011.
A firsthand confirmation of the news about North Korea, or its exclusion, and, in case affirmative, information on the serotype/genotype involved are anticipated with interest. - Mod.AS
HealthMap/ProMED map available at:
North Korea: http://healthmap.org/promed/p/196]