Japan reports more suspected foot-and-mouth cases

April 25, 2010

Japanese officials reported more suspected cases of foot-and-mouth disease on Sunday, days after announcing the country's first outbreak in a decade.

The government of the southern prefecture of Miyazaki, on Kyushu island, said four cows had tested positive for the highly contagious disease at a farm with 725 cattle.

All of the cows on the farm will be culled to prevent further spread, the prefecture government said in a statement.

"We plan to kill all the cows, bury contaminated items and to disinfect the affected farm," the prefecture said.

The announcement came after the same prefecture said on April 20 that it had slaughtered a herd of 16 cows on another farm after three of them tested positive for foot-and-mouth.

It is the first outbreak of the disease in Japan since 2000.

The earlier discovery prompted Japan to suspend exports of from , and certain other animals.

Officials in Miyazaki have found suspected foot-and-mouth cases at seven farms in the area since the outbreak was first announced.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects cloven-hoofed animals, also including sheep, goats and . It is rarely transmitted to humans but spreads easily between animals, causing them pain and often killing young animals.

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