Almost 1,000 pigs in the offshore Taiwan county of Penghu have been culled from one farm because of a confirmed outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease. Officials are checking other farms in the area, including two neighboring farms. So far, no other farms have been involved. As a result of this discovery of FMD, officials have closed down the auction block at the county's meat market where the blisters were spotted on the mouths of the animals.
Along with the suspension of meat market trade, a ban was put into place on the movement of cloven-hoofed animals throughout the county, pending an investigation of the cause of the outbreak. According to Huang Kuo-ching, deputy director of Taiwan's Council on Agriculture's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, initial tests on samples collected from the ailing pigs showed they were infected with an O-type FMD virus.
Huang says unlike ranches in Taiwan proper, the pigs in Penghu County have not received vaccinations against FMD since 2006. Since a serious FMD outbreak in 1997, locally grown pork has been barred from exports. FMD is a highly contagious and sometimes fatal viral disease among cloven-hoofed animals. However, transmission to humans is extremely rare.