Zoonotic Diseases

Diseases discussed here have a history of use as an agent for biological warfare, either in the U.S. or abroad. Its use may have been experimental or actual, and any detrimental consequences upon humans, animals or the environment may have been intentional or not, depending on the circumstances, the point in time, and the nature of the disease.

Monday, December 27, 2010

S. Korean Ag Tanks Due to Foot & Mouth Disease

FMD is of concern as a biological weapon for the following reasons:

The disease causes a high rate of morbidity in multiple species.
The disease is highly communicable and spreads rapidly once introduced into nonimmune herds. It is defined by the OIE as a category A disease: "Communicable diseases which have potential for serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders, which are of serious socioeconomic or public health consequence and which are of major importance in the international trade of livestock and products" (see References: OIE: OIE classification of diseases).
State public health officials and state veterinarians agreed in a 2001 survey that the risk of a bioterrorism attack with an agent affecting animals was greater than the risk of an attack with an agent affecting people. Both groups shared similar risk assessments of FMD as a bioterrorism agent (see References: Tharratt 2002).
FMD can lead to dramatic economic losses (see References: Paarlberg 2002):
Up to $14 billion (9.5%) of US farm income would be lost in the event of an outbreak similar to the 2001 epidemic in the UK, according to recent economic models.
The most affected sectors would be the cattle, milk, sheep, and swine markets.
This model predicted that most loss would not be from decreases in production but rather from lost export markets and decreases in consumer demand. Without adverse consumer reaction, the losses would be closer to $6.8 billion.

Full article; http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/biosecurity/ag-biosec/anim-disease/foot-mouth.html#_FMD_as_a

A ProMED-mail post

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International Society for Infectious Diseases

In this update:
[1] Update as of 25 Dec 2010
[2] The Japanese experience

[1] Update as of 25 Dec 2010
Date: 27 Dec 2010 [S. Korean time]
Source: Joongang Daily [edited]

The Grand National Party is pushing for integration of inspections
and a single government body to oversee the deadly foot-and-mouth
disease (FMD) after 2 additional outbreaks of FMD at pig and cattle
farms were confirmed by health authorities yesterday [26 Dec 2010].

"Currently, quarantine operations are divided among 3 government
offices -- the National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service,
the National Plant Quarantine Service and the National Fisheries
Products Quality Inspection Service -- but they need to be
integrated," said Chung Woon-chun, a former agriculture minister who
now heads the GNP's special committee for counteracting FMD.

"The GNP will come up with measures to effectively contain the
disease," he said. "And it will also encourage the public's
consumption of beef and pork because an outbreak of FMD doesn't
affect food safety."

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said
yesterday [26 Dec 2010] a pig farm with 2100 pigs in Yeoju County,
Gyeonggi tested positive for the disease. All animals on the farm and
within a 500-meter (0.31-mile) radius were slaughtered to prevent the
disease from spreading.

Of 140 cows raised at a cattle farm in the same county, 2 tested
positive as of yesterday [26 Dec 2010] afternoon and are also slated
to be culled, according to the ministry.

In addition to the Yeoju farm, the ministry received a report of a
suspected FMD case at a farm with 5000 pigs in Icheon, Gyeonggi,
raising concerns among health officials and area residents.

Despite the government's efforts to eliminate the disease by
vaccinating cloven-hoofed animals beginning Saturday [25 Dec 2010],
health officials are facing another obstacle: disinfectants have been
freezing in the recent cold spell and can't be sprayed to help
prevent the spread of FMD.

The Korean government had refrained from using the vaccine because
doing so would make it more difficult for Korea to regain its
FMD-free status, which is necessary for exports.

Since the outbreak of the disease on 29 Nov 2010 in North Gyeongsang,
it has spread to Gyeonggi, Gangwon and Incheon. There have been 51
infections reported, and more than 325 000 livestock have been
ordered to be culled. The Agriculture Ministry estimated losses
related to the disease at around 400 billion (USD 347 million).

The worsening situation is forcing local governments to cancel or
suspend their long-prepared celebrations for the 1st sunrise of 2011,
an annual event held by many communities in Korea.

North Gyeongsang, which has lost the most livestock from FMD, decided
to cancel all such events.

Some events that have been canceled include the Yeongdeok Sunrise
Festival, organized by the Yeongdeok County Office, and a bell
ringing ceremony to mark the new year, organized by the North
Gyeongsang Provincial Government. Cheongwon County in North
Chungcheong decided to cancel its year-end concert and will offer
refunds on purchased concert tickets, officials there said.

President Lee Myung-bak yesterday [26 Dec 2010] ordered winter
gloves, earmuffs and other winter-protection clothes to be given to
farmers and government officials combating the disease after he was
briefed by his Presidential Chief of Staff Yim Tae-hee about current
FMD countermeasures.

[Byline: Kim Mi-ju]

Communicated by:
Sabine Zentis
Gut Laach
52385 Nideggen

[The description of the current situation in S. Korea, including
cancellations of public events or gatherings, is reminiscent of the
2001 FMD epizootic in the UK when, on top of such events, most of the
open parks and nature reserves were closed to the public for extended
periods, the countryside badly hit; the rural sector suffered
enormous economical losses in the agri-business, including
agri-tourism and catering, and the general elections had to be
postponed. The UK outbreak started on 19 Feb 2001 and resolved after
more than 6 months.

Britain's "Foot and Mouth Disease 2001: Lessons to be Learned
Inquiry", said in the introduction to the report: "By the end of
September [2001], over 2000 premises had been declared infected,
millions of animals destroyed and many rural lives and livelihoods
affected in a manner unknown for a generation". The crisis was
estimated to have cost Britain BP 8 billion (USD 16 billion) in costs
to the agricultural and support industries, and to the outdoor industry.

The Korean epizootic is even more reminiscent of the recent epizootic
in Japan. Lessons which may have been derived from the Japanese
event, which was caused by the same virus strain currently
circulating in S. Korea, could be helpful for the decision-makers in
S. Korea. Two documents in Japanese, addressing some of the issues,
have already become available (for URLs, see in commentary of posting
20101225.4546). A paper in English, which includes some useful data
and analysis of the Japanese epizootic, is reviewed in item 2 below.

We have received from a subscriber the map (in Japanese): "Main route
of spread of FMD, as of 24 Dec 2010, AM 11.00", for which we are
grateful. The map shows the timeline and traces the suggested routes
of FMDV dissemination throughout 4 administrative districts of S.
Korea, beginning with the apparent index case. The map, published by
Chosun online (Japanese edition), does not include references. See at

orange line: confirmed route
white line: suspected route
1 spread to Gyeonggi-do
2 to Gangwon-do
3 to Incheon city
4 possibility of national spread

Dates included stand for days of confirmation, such as 11-29, which
means 29 Nov 2010. - Mod.AS]

[2] The Japanese experience
Date: December 2010 (Article 1st published online: 15 Aug 2010)
Source: Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 57 (6) (2010) 396-403
[modified, edited]

An epidemic of FMD occurred in Miyazaki, Japan, beginning in late
March 2010. Here, we document the descriptive epidemiological
features and investigate the between-farm transmission dynamics. As
of 10 Jul 2010, a total of 292 infected premises have been confirmed
with a cumulative incidence for cattle and pig herds of 8.5 and 36.4
percent, respectively for the whole of Miyazaki prefecture.

Pig herds were more likely to be infected than cattle herds (odds
ratio = 4.3 [95 percent confidence interval (CI): 3.2, 5.7]).
Modelling analysis suggested that the relative susceptibility of a
cattle herd is 4.2 times greater than a typical pig herd (95 percent
CI:3.9, 4.5), while the relative infectiousness of a pig herd is
estimated to be 8.0 times higher than a cattle herd (95 percent CI: 5.0, 13.6).

The epidemic peak occurred around mid-May 2010, after which the
incidence started to decline, and the effective reproduction numbers
from late May 2010 were mostly less than unity, although a
vaccination programme in late May 2010 could have masked symptoms in
infected animals. The infected premises were geographically confined
to limited areas in Miyazaki, but sporadic long-distance
transmissions were seen within the prefecture. Given that multiple
outbreaks in Far East Asian countries have occurred since early 2010,
continued monitoring and surveillance is deemed essential.

[Byline: H. Nishiura and R. Omori]

Communicated by:

[The data from Japan underlining the long-known but sometimes
forgotten picture of pigs being strikingly effective FMD virus
emitters, while cattle are very susceptible (to aerosol infection),
are indeed relevant to the S. Korean situation and predictive of the
extensive spread of the disease as, unfortunately, became realized
there. - Mod.AS]

[see also:
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (22): OIE follow-up, vaccination 20101225.4546
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (21): (KW, GB) susp. 20101222.4502
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (20): (KG), update 20101220.4489
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (19): (KB, KG), update 20101217.4460
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (18): (KB, KG), OIE follow-up 20101215.4446
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (17): (KG) spread 20101215.4442
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (16): (KB), update 20101213.4429
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (15): (KB), spread 20101211.4414
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (14): (KB) OIE follow-up 20101209.4393
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (13): (KB) spread 20101206.4369
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (12): (KB), update 20101204.4348
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (11): (GN) update 20101201.4321
Foot & mouth disease - S Korea (10): (KB), porcine, bovine, st O 20101130.4312
Foot & mouth disease - S Korea (09): (KB) OIE 20101130.4301
Foot & mouth disease - S Korea (08): (KB) recurs, RFI 20101129.4296
Foot & mouth disease - S. Korea (07): resolved 20100623.2096
Foot & mouth disease - S Korea: update, serotype O, genotyping 20100501.1416
Foot & mouth disease, bovine - S Korea (09): conf, serotype O, OIE
Foot & mouth disease, bovine - South Korea (08): susp. RFI 20100408.1140
Foot & mouth disease, bovine - South Korea (07): resolved 20100323.0919
Foot & mouth disease, bovine - South Korea (02): serotype A 20100111.0130
Foot & mouth disease, bovine - South Korea: (KG), OIE 20100108.0089]


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