News / Asia

Outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Spreads in North Korea

The World Organization for Animal Health says deadly foot-and-mouth disease has spread to another farm in the North Korean capital Pyongyang.

In an e-mail to VOA's Korean service Wednesday, the organization said at least six pigs were slaughtered January 16 after an outbreak of the disease in Sunan Village.

The new foot-and mouth outbreak in Pyongyang was of Type-O, the same class that had affected a pig farm in Pyongyang on January 8. The first outbreak resulted in the death of more than 3,000 animals.

While the time difference between the first and the second outbreaks was only one week, such information is rarely made public by the North Korean government. It is not yet known if the disease outbreak has been contained or spread to even more farms in North Korea.

Juan Lubroth, the Chief Veterinary Officer at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said his team just returned from a week-long visit to Pyongyang and is analyzing its findings. North Korea requested the organization's support in containing the disease last month.

While foot-and-mouth disease does not affect humans, it is highly infectious and can wipe out entire farms of their livestock. The ramifications can be especially high in a place such as North Korea, which has suffered from famines and chronic food shortages.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

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