N. Korea Must Step Up Fight On Foot-And-Mouth — FAO

North Korea’s capacity to detect and contain outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in livestock needs significant strengthening, the UN food agency FAO and the world animal health body OIE said Mar. 24.

The FAO and the OIE, which sent a joint mission in the reclusive communist state in late February-early March, said FMD cases have been reported in diverse locations in eight of North Korea’s 13 provinces, the two organizations said.

“FAO estimates around $1 million is required immediately for training, supplies and infrastructure, vaccine acquisition and the setting up of monitoring, reporting and response systems,” the Rome-based UN food agency said in a statement.

North Korea confirmed cases of FMD across the country in mid-February and lodged the outbreak with the FAO.

FAO said measures needed included thorough surveillance to locate and map disease clusters, protection of unaffected farms and adequate sampling in order to correctly identify the virus strain or strains involved.

It called for the use of appropriate vaccines to contain and isolate the disease.

FAO, which is due to issue a separate report on food shortages in North Korea, said farm animals were crucial to food security in the country.

North Korea’s livestock population consists of 577,000 cattle, 2.2 million pigs and 3.5 million goats, the statement said.

“Cows and oxen are primarily used for dairy production and are a key source of draft power in agricultural production. Goats and pigs, also susceptible to FMD, are important sources of dairy products and meat,” it said.

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