SEOUL, Feb 9 (Reuters) - A second strain of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed at a dairy farm in South Korea, three days after an outbreak was first reported, the country’s agriculture ministry said on Thursday.
The A-type virus strain of the disease was discovered at the farm in Yeoncheon, north of Seoul, in addition to the O-type virus strain found earlier, Kim Kyeong-kyu, deputy minister for food industry policy, told a briefing.
“We are conducting epidemiological studies on the A-type virus from the Yeoncheon farm,” said Kim.
“Several cases of foot-and-mouth disease were reported before, and the A-type virus was found in farms in Pocheon and Yeoncheon areas in January 2010.”
Since the first outbreak was discovered on Monday, South Korea, has taken emergency measures including a nationwide vaccination and a movement control order to contain the spread of the virus.
The ministry had re-vaccinated all cattle in the country against the O-type virus, and the country’s livestock would need to be inoculated again against the A-type strain, Kim said.
Oh Soon-min, a senior agriculture ministry official in charge of animal health, said the ministry was seeking to import more stocks from vaccine makers such as Merial as Korea’s inventory of “O+A type” vaccines, which allow livestock to be vaccinated for both strains at the same time, was in short supply.
“We first have to check the company’s inventory and we are thinking to bring in as many as we can,” he added.
Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, regularly inoculates its cattle and hogs against three types of foot-and-mouth diseases. It has around 3.14 million cattle and 10 million hogs nationwide.
The agriculture ministry is weighing whether or not to vaccinate hogs again, as cases of infection have so far only been found among cattle, said Park Bong-kyun, commissioner of the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency.
As of Wednesday, 826 cattle had been culled, the ministry statement said.
Korea has also slaughtered 33 million farm birds since late last year as it tries to contain an outbreak of viral bird flu.
Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Richard Pullin