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Additional FMD case discovered in S. Korea's central region
SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea confirmed an additional case of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) on Wednesday in the country's central region, despite more than 50 days of nationwide quarantine efforts.

   The additional case in Chungju, 147 kilometers southeast of Seoul, brings the total number of confirmed FMD outbreaks to 116, since animals started showing symptoms in late November, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

   All 17 animals on the small cattle farm have been ordered destroyed along with livestock within a 500-meter radius of the site to prevent further spread of the disease, the ministry said.

   FMD is highly contagious and affects all cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, pigs, deer, goats and buffalo. It is classified as a "List A" disease by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, although it is harmless to humans.

   The disease, meanwhile, forced Seoul to cull and bury 1.41 million heads of cattle, pigs, goats and deer with damage estimated to run to around 1.4 trillion won (US$1.2 billion).

   The country had moved to vaccinate animals on Dec. 25 after initial quarantine efforts proved inadequate to control the outbreak that has spread to most parts of the country. More than 2.11 million animals are set to receive inoculations, with the government scrambling to import vaccines from abroad.

   Seoul has also raised its alert level to "red" -- the highest in a four-tier response scale -- and set up inter-government headquarters to handle the situation.

   Besides the latest outbreaks that were first confirmed on Nov. 29, the country was hit by the disease in 2000, 2002 and two more times early last year.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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