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Fri, Feb 25, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Foot-and-mouth surfaces at Kaohsiung dairy farm

ANOTHER INCIDENT Though the government said the most recent outbreak of the deadly livestock disease was contained, a new case has come to light


Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has spread to a dairy farm in Kaohsiung County, despite government reassurances two weeks ago the most recent outbreak had been contained.

Almost 300 goats were killed yesterday afternoon in Alian town-ship after the Council of Agriculture confirmed that a farm there had been infected with the deadly livestock disease.

Forty-two kids died on the farm between Feb. 18 and Feb. 23. Director of the council's animal quarantine department Li Chin-lung (李金龍) said kids were affected and not adult goats because their immune systems are weaker.

The department's deputy director Sung Hua-tsung (宋華聰) said all the animals on the farm had been immunized against the disease as of Feb. 18, as the Council had mandated.

The area around the farm has been quarantined and the 295 goats on the farm were all killed, according to a report from the Central News Agency.

Tests on the goats that died over the past few days confirmed they were infected with the O-Kinmen strain of the virus -- the same strain that struck goats in Taiwan for the first time earlier this month.

Veterinarian Lai Hsiu-sui (賴秀穗), who is also a member of the council's FMD task force, told a local paper yesterday that the virus has likely spread throughout the island.

After FMD broke out in goats for the first time in Changhua County's Fangyuan township on Feb. 4, the council ordered mandatory immunizations for all cloven-hooved livestock -- pigs, cows, goats and deer -- which are vulnerable to the disease.

The virus does not affect humans, but people can carry the virus on their bodies for up to seven days.

The council also announced on Feb. 18 that it would cooperate with the coast guard in clamping down on smuggling across the Taiwan Strait.

The source of the virus is believed to be livestock entering illegally from China, although agriculture experts on the mainland said this was unlikely.

Zhou Heping (周和平), a veterinarian from Fuzhou City's agricultural association, said during a visit to Tainan County on Wednesday that livestock from China could not enter Taiwan.

He acknowledged, however, that he did not know what smuggling control measures were in place in Fujian province's ports.

Four million of Taiwan's estimated seven million pigs were slaughtered in March 1997 after an outbreak of FMD.

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