On alert for animal diseases

by Erica Shaffer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Animal diseases have kept livestock growers on high alert in South Korea and Japan. While swine producers in the United States continue to feel the impact of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), swine and poultry producers in the Pacific Rim are turning their attention to avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks.

South Korea is disinfecting swine farms across the country in an effort to contain an outbreak of FMD and bird flu, according to local news reports. The highly contagious disease was confirmed at a farm located 30 miles outside of Seoul. FMD had been limited to farms in the center of South Korea.

The FMD outbreak came as agriculture officials continued to battle an outbreak of bird flu. In response to the outbreak, officials with the ministry of agriculture established an avian influenza preventive measure that places limits on new poultry farms in areas at risk for bird flu and relocates existing farms. Also, a "three strikes" system eliminates compensation for farms with repeated outbreaks and invests in remodeling poultry facilities.

In a statement, the ministry urged cooperation among agriculture agencies and participation in intensive vaccination and disinfection of farms.

Meanwhile, authorities in the Miyazaki prefecture in Japan began culling 42,000 chickens after dead birds at a poultry farm tested positive for the H5 strain of avian influenza, according to news reports. Officials stopped shipments of birds within 10 km of the affected farm, and poultry within a 3 km radius cannot be transported, local news outlets reported.

An outbreak of bird flu in 2011 led to the cull of millions of birds in Miyazaki prefecture.
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