ROME – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) animal health specialists are in North Korea to help veterinary authorities there battle outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease among pigs and cattle. The mission, which began Feb. 28, will last approximately 10-14 days.

A veterinarian specializing in FMD and transboundary animal diseases, a logistics officer and a laboratory technician fielded by FAO and a veterinarian specialist in disease management from OIE are all part of this team. Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) veterinary officials are also involved in the mission. All are assessing the situation in order to provide situation-specific guidance and technical assistance to North Korean veterinary officials so they can contain the outbreaks and stop the disease from spreading.

Longer-term prevention planning is also being provided by the FAO-OIE team. It is gathering testing samples of the virus in order to gain an understanding of its genetic make-up, which will allow North Korea to identify the most appropriate and effective vaccines it can use.