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29 May 2002
Soccer fans travelling to the World Cup in Korea have been asked to be take
special care to avoid any risk of bringing Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) back to
Allen Bryce, acting Director Animal Biosecurity at the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), said a recent outbreak of FMD in South Korea
should serve as a strong reminder to travellers to leave all biosecurity risk
goods, such as meat, behind in Korea.
"While attention has focused on the impact of the outbreak of FMD in
Europe, and the United Kingdom in particular, last month's outbreak of FMD in
South Korea demonstrates how vulnerable New Zealand is given FMD is present in
many countries throughout Asia.
"Carrying dirty sporting equipment and outdoor clothing, and plant and
food material are just a few examples of ways travellers' luggage can host
unwanted pests and diseases. Where there is any doubt items should be packed at
the top of suitcases in plastic bags or carried in hand luggage and all
biosecurity risk items fully declared on re-entering New Zealand," said Mr
""New Zealand has never had a case of FMD and everyone, including
the travelling public, needs to take responsibility for ensuring we maintain our
FMD-free status. Although the risk of introduction of FMD on humans or their
clothing is remote, the relatively short time of an intercontinental flight
within the Asia-Pacific region does cause extra concern and so all travellers
need to take extra care to avoid coming into contact with the virus. [See
attached background sheet].
For further information contact:
Allen Bryce, Acting Director, Animal Biosecurity Tel (04) 470 2787 or fax (04)
MAF published an assessment of the risks posed to New Zealand by FMD last
month; see http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/foot-and-mouth
The latest outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) in South Korea occurred
first at two different locations (Chungbuk and Kyonggi) and immediately resulted
in the death or destruction of more than 9000 animals. The number of animals
slaughtered since then has climbed rapidly to more than 100,000.
Korea lost its FMD disease-free status in March 2000, when FMD was reported
in cattle, for the first time since 1934. Up until the outbreak last month no
new outbreak had been reported since April 2000. The last case of FMD in Japan,
which is co-hosting the FIFA World Cup, occurred in May 2000 and Japan is
regarded as FMD-free.
This particular strain of FMD is known as the PanAsia strain. As knowledge of
FMD has grown it has been possible to track the different viruses and their
strains. The PanAsia strain was first identified in northern India around 1990
and has spread both westward and eastward from there. Since 2000 this strain of
FMD was evident in outbreaks in Russia, Mongolia and South Africa followed in
February 2001 by its arrival in western Europe.
The emergence of the PanAsia strain illustrates that it is possible for new
and significantly different FMD viruses to appear, and it is difficult to
predict the impact that any new strain will have on world animal health.
Transmission of FMD most commonly occurs during physical or close contact
between acutely infected and susceptible animals. The next most common
transmission pathway occurs when livestock are fed contaminated animal products
such as meat, offal or milk.