(LEAD) Gov’t to make ‘all-out’ efforts to prevent further spread of lumpy skin disease

SEOUL, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said Sunday the government will make “all-out” efforts to stop lumpy skin disease (LSD) from spreading further across the country.

South Korea had confirmed 61 LSD cases nationwide as of 2 p.m. Sunday since the first-ever outbreak of the viral infection on Oct. 20. The number of cattle culled or to be culled has reached 4,107 so far.

“The next three weeks will be the most important period to contain the infection. Livestock farms need to actively carry out vaccinations,” Han said in a meeting with officials at the prime minister’s official residence in central Seoul.

As of Saturday morning, health authorities had administered the vaccine to 357,000 out of 438,000 cows subject to emergency inoculation, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The agriculture ministry has been scurrying to further expand its emergency vaccination campaign by securing more vaccines from abroad, and the interior ministry vowed to manage the overall vaccination program based on plans drawn up by each local government.

The country had LSD vaccines for 540,000 cows as of last year and plans to secure 4 million additional vaccines by the end of this month.

The government aims to complete the nationwide inoculations by Nov. 10, although the number of cases will likely rise for the time being, considering it takes around three weeks for vaccinated cattle to develop protective antibodies against the disease.

LSD, which does not affect humans, is a highly infectious disease that causes skin lesions, fever and loss of appetite, often leading to a fall in milk production and even death. It affects cattle and buffalo via mosquitoes and other blood-feeding insects.

Source: Yonhap News Agency