UN helps N. Korea deal with foot-and-mouth outbreak

March 6, 2011 - 0:0

ROME (AFP) -— The UN food agency has sent a team of animal health experts to North Korea to help manage an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that could worsen a food crisis, the agency said in a statement Friday.

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) sent veterinarians specializing in foot-and-mouth to assess the situation, help contain outbreaks and stop it spreading.
North Korea confirmed last month that it had been hit by the highly contagious disease, which experts believe started at the end of last year.
In February, the Rome-based FAO said it had received a formal request for assistance from the secretive communist country, which it said had suffered at least 48 outbreaks, affecting thousands of animals.
North Korea suffers persistent severe shortages of food likely to be worsened by livestock disease.
Although humans are not at risk, ""affected animals become too weak to be used to plough the soil or reap harvests, and farmers cannot sell the milk they produce, which can severely impact household food security,"" the FAO said.
The mission, which began on February 28, will last approximately 10-14 days.