South Korea's government-run quarantine service said Sunday that tests confirmed that cattle and pigs near the village of Paju were infected with foot-and-mouth disease, dealing a heavy blow to livestock farmers.
Symptoms of the highly communicable viral disease began showing up last month in Paju, 30 miles north of Seoul, and then Hongsong, 65 miles southwest of the capital, where officials are still conducting tests. South Korean officials have been slaughtering infected animals, quarantining farms and forbidding the transportation of livestock.
Last week, 105 head of cattle were slaughtered in Paju. Over the weekend, 93 head of cattle and pigs were killed in Hongsong.
On March 26, 13 head of cattle--10 of which showed foot-and-mouth symptoms--also were destroyed at three farms in Miyazaki prefecture in southern Japan. The government, however, has not yet verified whether any of them were suffering from the disease.
The disease often leaves animals with a declining appetite, fever, and blisters around their mouths and hooves, and can cause death.