Government officials in Japan’s Miyazaki prefecture, the nation’s second-largest pig region, have ordered more than 1% of its swine to be slaughtered in a state of emergency declaration as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) spreads.
A total of 105,519 pigs and 8,612 beef cattle and dairy cows will be killed in the prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu, say animal health officials.
The cull is more than 100 times larger than during Japan’s last outbreak in 2000 and residents in the affected area are being asked to stay home to contain the disease and avoid further spread across Kyushu island or nationwide.
“It is difficult to determine how the disease is being transmitted,” Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said. “The most important thing is that the government will take all possible measures to prevent the disease from spreading further.”
To contain the highly contagious disease, Japan has restricted animal movements and is slaughtering all stock at farms with suspected cases and disinfecting the premises. The first case was reported on April 20.
Miyazaki accounts for 9.2% of the nation’s swine herd, estimated at 9.9 million head by the agriculture ministry. The prefecture is also the third-largest beef cattle grower estimated at 10% of the country’s total of 2.9 million.
The strain of FMD detected in Miyazaki is similar to the type discovered in South Korea, according to the agriculture ministry.
China in March reported an outbreak of FMD in pigs.