CHINA / Regional

China reports outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease
Updated: 2006-05-01 13:46

China discovered the second outbreak in two months of foot-and-mouth disease among livestock in the western province of Qinghai.

Symptoms of the Asian I strain of foot-and-mouth were discovered in four dairy cows on a farm in Haiyan County on April 26, the Ministry Of Agriculture said in a statement on its Web site yesterday. The national foot-and-mouth disease reference laboratory confirmed the outbreak, it said.

The ministry and the provincial government are taking emergency measures to contain the outbreak, disinfect the area and cull the sick animals, the statement said. The province's veterinary office also culled 34 cattle, pigs and goats, it said.

Foot-and-mouth, harmless to humans, is a highly contagious viral disease that causes hogs, sheep and cattle to blister on their mouths and tongues, and reduces milk and meat production. It can be carried by the wind and on the vehicles and clothes of people who come into contact with infected animals.

Qinghai province reported on March 12 a separate outbreak of the disease in Guinan County. A cow showed symptoms of the disease on March 4 and the national reference laboratory confirmed the outbreak. The veterinary office culled 19 cattle and two pigs, the ministry said.

The outbreak in Haiyan Country is the fifth reported case in China this year, according to the agriculture ministry. The country reported outbreaks in the northern provinces of Gansu on March 8 and Ningxia on Jan. 16 and in the eastern province of Jiangsu in January.

Globally, 3,575 outbreaks of the disease were reported in 2004, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health's Web site. It didn't give figures for 2005.