Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease that primarily afflicts cloven-hoofed animals (including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, etc.) and poses a serious threat to agricultural interests around the world. It is caused by a picornavirus, and has no relation to HFMD, which is a childhood disease in humans caused by a number of non-polio enteroviruses.
There are seven known types and more than 60 subtypes of the FMD virus, and different types are to be found in different parts of the world.
Overnight South Korea has reported their first case of FMD in 3 years, at a pig farm in Uiseong, North Gyeongsang Province (see Korea Herald report S. Korea reports first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease). The OIE report (see below) lists the serotype as O (PanAsia Strain), which raised international concern between 1998-2011 when it spread rapidly across Asia, Africa, & parts of Europe (cite).
At this point, only one farm is known to be affected, and the following control measures are being implemented.
This return of FMD comes just months after S. Korea began a prolonged battled against the H5N8 avian flu virus in poultry, which resulted in the culling of millions of chickens and ducks.
Both Japan and Korea detected FMD in the spring of 2010, and after the destruction of 290,000 head of livestock, Japan declared their FMD crisis over in August. In South Korea, however, the outbreaks continued into 2011, with 155 outbreaks reported.
2010-2011 FMD – Credit OIE
FMD is endemic in many parts of the world (Africa, Asia, South America, some parts of Europe), but has been eradicated in many others. The last outbreak of FMD in the United States was in 1929 – but vigilance is maintained to prevent its return.
OIE Disease Outbreak Map – Current FMD
Although South Korea hasn’t reported FMD in over three years, neighboring North Korea has reportedly been doing battle with the disease for several years (see Xinhua News: Extensive H5N1 Outbreaks In North Korean Poultry).
We’ll have to wait to see if this latest outbreak is limited to just one farm, or has already spread.