Published Date: 2017-02-11 21:04:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Foot & mouth disease - South Korea (03): bovine, serotypes A, O, spread
Archive Number: 20170211.4832838
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE - SOUTH KOREA (03): BOVINE, SEROTYPES A, O, SPREAD
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Date: Sat 11 Feb 2017 15:48 KST
Source: The Hankyoreh [edited]
During the 16 years since the 1st outbreak of foot and mouth disease [FMD] in 2000, the South Korean government has reportedly spent 3.3 trillion won (USD 2.87 billion) just on compensating farmers for cattle and hogs that have been culled and other forms of direct damage relief. Amid a simultaneous outbreak of 2 strains of the disease and difficulty determining the disease's entry point, FMD is gradually becoming a more complicated issue.
According to figures the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs [published] on [Fri 10 Feb 2017], there have been 8 outbreaks of FMD in South Korea since 2000, with these outbreaks lasting between 15 and 147 days. Since 2010, these outbreaks have been becoming more frequent. During these 16 years, 3 905 000 cattle and hogs have been culled, and the government has spent 3.32 trillion won [approx. USD 2.87 billion] just on damage relief, which includes compensating farmers for their culled animals and guaranteeing them a baseline income to live on.
The worst case lasted for 145 days, between [November 2010 and April 2011], a period during which 3.32 million hogs and 150 000 cattle (3.48 million animals altogether) were culled. The tactic that emerged from this outbreak was vaccinations. Each year, about 90 billion won (USD 78.5 million) is spent simply on inoculating the animals. As of last year , 91.7 billion won [approx. USD 78.5 million] has been spent on inoculations, including 37.1 billion won [approx. USD 31.7 million] allocated by the central government, 15.9 billion won [approx. USD 13.6 million] by local governments and 38.8 billion won [approx. USD 33.2 million] by the farmers themselves.
But even the inoculations have not been enough to stop FMD. Even though vaccinations are now mandatory, there were 185 cases of the disease during 147 days between [December 2014 and April 2015], and there were 21 cases last year . The fact that the disease has struck animals in Boeun County, North Chungcheong Province; Jeongeup in North Jeolla Province; and Yeoncheon County in Gyeonggi Province already this year , is a sign that the disease is spreading. Thus far, 825 cattle have been culled.
The disease is even harder to control this time around because 2 strains of the virus have appeared simultaneously. FMD is highly virulent, since it can be transmitted through the air, unlike avian influenza. After the same strain of the FMD virus was reported in Boeun County in South Chungcheong Province and Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province which are more than 100 km [approx. 62.13 mi] apart, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced that "the virus appears to have spread to various parts of the country."
Under conditions such as these, in which there is a high risk of FMD spreading, vaccinations are the most critical form of disease control, but the evident shortcomings of the government's vaccination program are increasing anxiety. Even though this is the 7th year since vaccinations became mandatory, it turns out that the government has not regulated the program effectively. Last year , just 6900, or 7 percent of the 98 000 farms raising cattle were tested for antibodies. In terms of the number of cattle, this was 27 000, or 0.8 percent of the total 3.3 million heads of cattle, suggesting the extreme shortcoming of the system for testing the vaccinations' effectiveness [see comment]. Indeed, the antibody formation rates at Boeun and Jeongeup, where FMD has definitely been diagnosed, were 19 and 5 percent, respectively, showing the limitations of efforts to combat the disease.
"We will increase the frequency of farm inspections and also increase the number of cattle being tested in order to confirm that livestock are being inoculated properly," said a source with the Agriculture Ministry when asked for comment.
In related news, another confirmed case of FMD in Boeun has increased the total to 4. The case occurred at a cattle farm (115 head of cattle) in the Tanbu Township, 1.3 km [approx. 0.86 mi] from the dairy farm where the 1st case was reported. This case was the O-type strain of the disease, just as in Boeun and Jeongeup, and the farm where it occurred has a relatively low antibody formation rate of 30 percent. An antibody formation rate of just 6 percent was also found at another farm close to the Boeun farm where the latest case occurred.
[Byline: Kim So-youn & Oh Yoon-joo]
[Testing, annually, 27 000 cattle (0.8 percent of the nation's total) for their antibody level, in 6900 (7 percent of the total) farms, if regularly performed, does not seem an "extreme shortcoming". On top of the vaccination coverage, challenged by the authors of the above article (and, in fact, by the authorities themselves; see 20170207.4821122), additional factors deserve to be considered, including the applicability of the vaccine strains used, and the possibility that the genetic profile of the (newly introduced?) field strains has changed. Subscribers are referred to the following statement in 20170207.4821122, addressing serotype O: "Authorities said that the genotype was 99.4 percent similar to the virus that appeared in Thailand and Viet Nam, while they are still looking into movements by workers and animals at the farm in question to find out how the infection was picked up".
It will be also of interest to obtain information on the current FMD situation in North Korea. - Mod.AS
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