South Korean Government Mobilizes to Contain Lumpy Skin Disease Outbreak in Cattle

Seoul — Prime Minister Han Duck-soo announced on Sunday that the South Korean government will make extensive efforts to prevent the spread of lumpy skin disease (LSD) across the nation's cattle farms.

According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, Food and Rural Affairs, as of 2 p.m. Sunday, South Korea has confirmed 61 LSD cases nationwide since the disease's initial outbreak on October 20. The total number of cattle slated for culling has reached 4,107.

"The next three weeks will be the most important period to contain the infection. Livestock farms need to actively carry out vaccinations," said Han during a meeting with officials at his official residence in central Seoul.

As of Saturday morning, health authorities had administered vaccines to 357,000 out of the 438,000 cows that are targeted for emergency inoculation. The agriculture ministry is rushing to extend its emergency vaccination campaign by procuring additional vaccines from abroad. Meanwhile, the interior ministry is coordinating the overall vaccination program, guided by plans formulated by each local government.

South Korea had vaccines available for 540,000 cows as of last year and aims to obtain 4 million more doses by the end of this month. The government has set a target date of November 10 to complete nationwide inoculations. However, officials expect the number of LSD cases to temporarily rise, given that it takes around three weeks for vaccinated cattle to develop protective antibodies against the disease.

LSD is a highly infectious viral disease that affects cattle and buffalo but not humans. The disease is transmitted through mosquitoes and other blood-feeding insects. It causes symptoms such as skin lesions and fever in the affected animals and can result in decreased milk production and even death.

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