Health officials are working to contain outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in both Bulgaria and South Korea this week.

koreaHMD-featured.jpgThe World Organization for Animal Health reported that one cow, eight pigs, 14 sheep and 12 goats tested positive for the disease in the Burgas region in Bulgaria.  According to Meatingplace, the European Union went into protective mode after a wild boar near the Turkish border tested positive for the disease, which only in extremely rare cases can pose a risk to humans, but is highly contagious and catastrophic for livestock.

“A ban on livestock movement and restrictions on the trade in meat in and from these areas is now in force,” Meatingplace reported.  “None of these regions are major players in livestock or meat trade, but if the EU cannot convince its overseas customers that the infection has been confined to a region there is the risk that the EU’s meat export trade could be affected by import bans.”

In South Korea, agriculture officials are struggling to contain an ongoing outbreak that has forced the country to cull around 12 percent of its swine population and significant numbers of cattle.

“The outbreak is the most serious in Korea’s history,” Kim Jae-hong, a veterinary science professor at Seoul National University, told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday. “It is hard to predict when we can contain the spread of the disease, but the most important thing right now is to control movement in and out of the farmhouses that are affected, and thoroughly disinfect the cars around the area.”

South Korea is also actively monitoring the spread of avian flu among chicken farms–avian flu does pose a risk to humans.  Two weeks ago officials confirmed an outbreak of the H5N1 influenza virus at two farms.  Officials culled 200,000 birds to stop the spread of disease.