AI Disinfection – Credit MAFRA
For agricultural interests nothing invokes fear like the emergence of a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza, or an outbreak of FMD (Foot & Mouth Disease). Both can threaten large segments of a region’s food production, and both are difficult to eradicate or control.
Over the past year South Korea has culled roughly 15 million birds in their attempts to contain the H5N8 virus, and between 2010 and 2011, an outbreak of FMD forced the destruction of nearly 3.5 million animals.
While both diseases were thought under control, last summer we saw South Korea: Fresh Reports Of FMD & H5N8, and in the past several months additional outbreaks have been reported. Yesterday, in South Korea Reports New HPAI H5 & FMD Outbreaks, we looked at a new spate of reports of avian flu (and FMD) in South Korea .
Although migratory birds have been blamed for much of the the spread of HPAI H5 in Korea, it is also likely that the agricultural industry has exacerbated the spread through the movement of infected birds, supplies, or contaminated vehicles. FMD can easily be spread in the same way.
So today Korean authorities announced a 36-hour lockdown of all poultry, livestock, farm personnel, and their vehicles across the nation – to begin on Saturday - to allow time for a massive disinfection campaign.
This is the third such lockdown ordered in the past year.
Two reports, first from Yonhap News, then from AFP.
SEJONG, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- The government on Thursday ordered a halt in the movement of all birds, poultry farmers and vehicles to prevent the further spread of bird flu.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the ban will go into effect as of 6 a.m. Saturday and stay in place until 6 p.m. Sunday. A total of 106,000 people will be affected along with 31,000 facilities.
Failure to follow the order could result in a maximum fine of 10 million won (US$9,220) or a prison term of less than one year.
The ministry said the order has been issued in consultation with poultry farmers and agricultural cooperatives and that the farmers were given time to stock up on feed.
"Because poultry farmers actively asked for the measure, we expect they will actively adhere to it," said Lee Chun-il, head of the ministry's livestock policy division.
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South Korea on Thursday announced a 36-hour lockdown over the weekend on poultry and livestock farms across the country to curb the spread of two highly contagious animal diseases -- foot and mouth and bird flu.
The agriculture ministry said the movement of animals, people and vehicles at thousands of farms would be banned from 6:00 am (2100 GMT) on Saturday for disinfection.
A series of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth in recent months have resulted in the slaughter of around 25,000 pigs, and concern has grown as cases have spread to farms close to the capital Seoul.