Friday, January 14, 2011

Serious Foot-and Mouth-Disease Strikes South Korea

Foot-and-Mouth Disease—Will Mass Animal Burials Cause Water Contamination in South Korea?

January 14, 2011

As animal bodies pile up, public fears water sources will become contaminated.

Millions of animals have been killed or vaccinated in South Korea over the past six weeks in an effort to contain the nation’s largest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

As the virus sweeps South Korea’s livestock industry, government officials have ordered the burial of culled animals. The consequences to groundwater from the slaughter and burial of so many animals have emerged as a public concern, heightened by reports of biological contamination.

For instance, The Korea Times reported last week that tap water in a village in Gyeonggi province was contaminated with blood. The news agency reported that residents believe the contamination was related to a livestock slaughter on December 31, when nearly 1,000 pigs were buried alive in response to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at a nearby farm.

Typically, animals are killed before disposal, but with the outbreak spreading so fast, local authorities did not have the slaughterhouse capacity to follow the rules.
Foot-and-mouth disease does not infect humans, but is highly communicable between cloven-hoofed animals such as pigs, cows, goats, sheep, and deer. Humans and other animals, however, can still carry the virus on exposed materials such as contaminated equipment, facilities, cars, and clothing.

The disease can also be transmitted to susceptible animals through contaminated food and drinking sources.

More than 1.4 million pigs and cows have been buried alive throughout the country, reports Reuters. However, the most disturbing effect of the national campaign is the bloody tap water reported by The Korea Times.

For remaining story see Circle of Blue Waternews link:

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