On July 24, Veterinary officials in South Korea confirmed a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak, the country’s first case in more than three years. In May of this year, South Korea was recognized as having FMD-free-with-vaccination status by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
A hog farm located in North Gyeongsang province had reported symptoms in about 200 pigs prior to confirmation of the disease. Authorities are now culling 600 animals from the establishment, which has a total herd of 1,500.
According to The Korea Herald, the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs says the outbreak was caused by the type-O FMD virus and the affected animals were likely not vaccinated. Because Korea’s national vaccination program covers FMD types O, A and Asia 1, the ministry does not expect the outbreak to spread further.
According to USMEF-Korea, pork processors and other major buyers in the market seem to share the ministry’s optimism that the disease will not spread, but say they plan to monitor the situation carefully.
Korea’s pork production has held relatively steady so far this year, but the Korea Rural Economic Institute forecasts a 4 to 5 percent decrease in second-half pork production due to the impact of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). Korea’s hog carcass prices have been significantly higher than last year’s low levels but are still down compared to 2011. July prices were up an average of 34 percent from a year ago, but still down 17 percent from 2011 (in Korean won terms). Given the anticipated PEDV-related decrease in production, prices could have upward potential even without a significant impact from FMD.