UN warns Asia of foot-and-mouth disease

January 28th, 2011 - 8:00 pm ICT by BNO News  

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations on Friday warned veterinary and border authorities in Asia of the major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in South Korea.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) urged authorities to be on alert for livestock showing signs of infection.

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) affects cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, causing high fever. It is characteristic by lesions in animals’ mouths and feet. One of the early signs of the disease in infected animals is the excessive production of saliva and nasal discharges.

The disease does not affect humans.

“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.

The overall cost of the FMD control effort in the Republic of Korea is estimated at about $1.6 billion, according to the FAO.

Foot-and-mouth disease spread through China in recent years and entered eastern regions of Russia and Mongolia for the first time. The disease recently affected an estimated 1.5 million Mongolian gazelles, whose migration may have helped carry the virus into China. FAO sent an emergency response team to Mongolia to help authorities cope with the disease.

Lubroth added the disease could be spread during the Lunar New Year holiday when large numbers of people will be on the move in the region, many of them carrying meat and some transporting animals.

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