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International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 11 Feb 2011
Source: Wireupdate.com, BNO News report [edited]
North Korea confirms large-scale foot-and-mouth disease outbreak
North Korean state media on Friday [11 Feb 2011] acknowledged for the
1st time that foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] has broken out in the Asian
country, affecting 8 provinces.
Rumors had been circling for several weeks that FMD had broken out in
the Communist country. On Thursday [10 Feb 2011], the state-run Korean
Central News Agency (KCNA) confirmed that the disease broke out in
Pyongyang at the end of 2010 and since spread to 8 other provinces.
KCNA said the most seriously affected areas are Pyongyang, North
Hwanghae Province, and Kangwon Province. Other areas which have been
affected are North and South Pyongan Provinces and Jagang Province,
although the other 3 affected provinces were not identified.
"Type O FMD broke out on cooperative farms, dairy farms, and pig
farms in those areas, doing harm to domestic animals," KCNA said.
[This is the 1st report identifying the FMDV serotype in North Korea.
-Mod.AS]. "More than 10 000 heads of draught oxen, [dairy cattle], and
pigs have so far been infected with the disease and thousands of them
died." [see comment]. The state broadcaster said a national emergency
veterinary and anti-epizootic committee has since been established.
"An emergency anti-epidemic campaign was declared throughout the
country," it added.
KCNA further added that infected areas had been quarantined and
disinfected and that measures were taken to treat those infected with
the disease. "All the catering networks and markets have stopped
selling meat of the above-said domestic animals," it concluded.
Late last month [January 2011], the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) of the United Nations called for veterinary and border control
authorities in Asia to be on alert for animals showing signs of
infection by FMD after a large outbreak in South Korea.
Since late November 2010, South Korean authorities have imposed
quarantines, initiated a vaccination campaign that is targeting 9
million pigs and 3 million heads of cattle, and culled 2.2 million
livestock. The overall cost of this effort is estimated at around USD
"The current FMD dynamics in eastern Asia, as well as the magnitude
of the outbreak in South Korea, are unlike anything that we've seen
for at least a half century," said Juan Lubroth, FAO's chief
veterinary officer. "This makes preparedness and monitoring extremely
important right now."
In recent years, FMD has made an unparalleled spread through China
and entered eastern regions of Russia and Mongolia for the 1st time.
It recently affected an estimated 1.5 million Mongolian gazelles,
whose migration may have helped carry the virus into China [but see
FAO revised alert in ProMED-mail 20110128.0338]. FAO sent an emergency
response team to Mongolia to help authorities cope with the disease.
The overall situation in Asia is cause for concern, said Lubroth,
especially given the recent Lunar New Year holiday [2-8 Feb 2011],
during which large numbers of people [have been] on the move in the
region, many of them carrying meat products and some transporting
FMD is a highly contagious disease affecting cattle, buffaloes,
sheep, goats, swine, and other cloven-hoofed animals. It causes
blisters on the nose, mouth, and hooves and can kill young or weak
animals. There are several [sero]types of viruses. The [sero]type
causing the outbreak in South and North Korea is [sero]type O.
The disease does not pose a direct health threat to humans, but
affected animals become too weak to be used to plough the soil or reap
harvests, and farmers cannot sell the milk they produce due to
infection by the virus.
One of the early signs of the disease in infected animals is the
excessive production of saliva and nasal discharges. The virus may
survive for several hours outside the infected animal, especially in
cold and humid environments. This means it can be transported on
almost any object that has been in contact with contaminated saliva or
other discharges [see also comment re airborne spread].
The cost of cleaning farms and culling animals is a burden for
farmers, and trade restrictions based on disease outbreaks can have
major impacts on both local and national economies. Costs resulting
from an outbreak in the UK in 2001 have been estimated at 13 billion
euro (USD 17.6), FAO said.
Castleview Pedigree English Longhorns
Date: Fri 11 Feb 2011
Source: Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) [edited]
UN agency to send foot-and-mouth disease experts to North Korea
A United Nations agency handling agricultural matters will send a
group of experts to North Korea next week [week of 14 Feb 2011] to
help the country contain foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), South Korea's
Yonhap news agency quoted the Radio Free Asia (RFA)'s report Friday
[11 Feb 2011].
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN will dispatch
"3 to 5 experts, including a veterinarian," to North Korea to
determine what sort of assistance North Koreans will need in light of
the FMD outbreak, the RFA reported. Citing an anonymous FAO official,
the report said the agency held an emergency meeting immediately after
North Korea requested aid earlier this week.
"We're very pleased that North Korea informed us of its FMD outbreak
and officially asked for help," the official was quoted as saying.
On Thursday [10 Feb 2011], North Korea confirmed for the 1st time
that it had been hit with the highly contagious livestock disease.
According to the North's state- run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA),
the FMD first broke out in the capital city, Pyongyang, late last year
, and has since spread to 8 provinces. The disease has claimed
the lives of thousands of cows and pigs and has affected more than 10
000 others [see comment].
The KCNA report was released hours after the RFA said the North had
reported the outbreak to the FAO.
South Korea has also been battling FMD that has spread nationwide in
the last 3 months and caused more than 3 million livestock to be
culled. It remains unclear whether the disease spread from the South
to the North. In 2007, North Korea suffered outbreaks of the disease,
prompting South Korea to dispatch a team of animal health experts amid
a mood of reconciliation. Citing recent visitors to the impoverished
neighbor, South Korean officials said last month [January 2011] that
the North is believed to be stepping up its quarantine efforts after
outbreaks were reported.
South and North Korea are divided by one of the world's most heavily
fortified borders. Most cross-border exchanges have come to a halt
over the last 3 years [see comment].
North Korea has banned the inflow of pork and beef from South Korea
since late last year  for fear that the disease may spread
FMD Surveillance and Modeling Laboratory
University of California at Davis
[According to both newswires, the disease affected more than 10 000
heads of bovines and porcines, thousands of which died. This sounds
like an exceptionally high case fatality rate. Generally, mortality in
adult animals, infected by FMD, rarely exceeds 5 per cent; however, it
may cause high mortality (sometimes exceeding 50 per cent) in
offspring (particularly in sheep, but also in pigs and cattle under
the age of one month). The grave economic losses, characteristic of
FMD, are mainly the result of the extreme infectivity of the virus,
deleteriously affecting production in many farms for extended periods,
and to the severe quarantine and other control measures applied. The
precise numbers of cases and mortalities, per species, and their
respective dates and locations in North Korea, are expected to be
included in the official notification to the OIE which is anticipated
sooner than later.
The 2nd newswire describes the division between the 2 Korea's as "one
of the world's most heavily fortified borders. Most cross-border
exchanges have come to a halt over the last 3 years". It should,
however, be kept in mind that among the various mechanisms by which
FMD can be spread, one should include the transport of virus on the
wind. Though this is an uncommon means of spread over long distances,
requiring the coincidence of particular epidemiological and climatic
factors, spread over hundreds of meters to several kilometers may be
less rare. The topographical and climatic factors which favour
airborne spread are a flat terrain, high humidity, low precipitation,
and low to moderate wind speed; such spread may be particularly
expected when pigs as are the infection source, being extremely
prolific FMD virus emitters, and cattle are the targets. This
mechanism of spread is important because infection can be carried
beyond control areas and across borders and seaways. (Donaldson AI,
Alexandersen S (2002): Predicting the spread of foot and mouth disease
by airborne virus. Rev sci tech Off int Epiz, 21(3): 569-75; available
Some of the outbreaks in the north west of South Korea were rather
close to the border with DPR Korea (see interactive map at
The proximity of FMDV serotype O outbreaks in South Korea to the
North Korean border was particularly notable during the previous
epizootic (8 outbreaks), which started in Incheon on 8 Apr 2010 and
was declared as resolved on 7 Jun 2010. See the interactive map at
Both epizootics were caused by the same virus strain (FMDV O SEA
topotype, Mya-98 lineage); it will be interesting to obtain
information on the strain currently circulating in North Korea, now
locally identified (item 1 above) as serotype O, as well as
information on the North Korean situation since early 2010. - Mod.AS]
Foot & mouth disease - North Korea (02): bovine, susp, RFI
Foot & mouth disease - North Korea: bovine, susp, RFI 20110117.0203
Foot & mouth disease - Asia (02): FAO, alert (revised), RFI
Foot & mouth disease - Asia: FAO, alert 20110127.0328]
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