South Korea on Saturday said it would cull some 16,000 farm animals due to a fast-spreading outbreak of highly contagious foot and mouth disease west of Seoul.
Cattle on a farm on Ganghwa Island, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital, tested positive Thursday for the virus, the agriculture ministry said.
AdvertisementSince then, two more cases of the disease had been confirmed.
"The ministry decided to step up preventative culling to stop the disease from spreading," the ministry said in a statement.
All cloven hoofed animals within three kilometers of the first contaminated farm would be culled, it said.
The animals to be slaughtered included 4,000 cattle and 12,000 pigs at a total of 140 farms, it added.
Foot-and-mouth disease affects animals such as cattle, pigs, deer, goats and sheep. The virus can be spread between animals, through the air and on clothing. However, it is rarely transmitted to humans.
South Korea ordered a halt to pork and beef exports in January this year when an outbreak of the disease was confirmed in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul.
Outbreaks in 2000 and 2002 cost South Korea an estimated 450 billion won (400 million dollars).