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South Korea Set To Open Crisis Centre To Curb FMD

29 December 2010

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea will set up a pan- governmental crisis centre in an effort to contain the latest foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks that have effectively spread throughout the country.

The highly contagious disease, first confirmed in the latest string of outbreaks on Nov 29 at farms about 270 kilometres southeast of Seoul, has spread to other parts of the country since then, sparking concerns that it can wreck havoc with the country's livestock industry.

In a joint statement, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the central anti-disaster headquarters will take charge of quarantine, decontamination and vaccination efforts currently underway and pool all available resources in an effort to end the outbreaks.

"The government will use all available resources, including the police, to help stem the animal disease that has continued to spread despite nationwide quarantine efforts," the statement said.

In addition, the country's alert level will be raised to "red" -- the highest in a four-tiered response scheme -- to reflect the seriousness of the situation.

The last time Seoul issued a red alert was when the country tried to combat the human Influenza A outbreaks that hit the country in the second half of 2009.

The farm ministry, meanwhile, said it has expanded areas that will be given animal vaccines to control the spread of FMD.

"Vaccines will be administered in 12 regions across the country from the initial five announced last week, with over 236,000 animals in 8,700 farms slated to get shots," it said.

The first vaccines were administered on Saturday.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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