The North American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, administered jointly by commissioners from the United States, Canada and Mexico, is providing the Republic of Korea with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine needed to assist the country with its ongoing FMD outbreak.

The bank will provide the antigen needed to manufacture 2.5 million doses of vaccine to inoculate pigs and cattle in South Korea.

South Korean officials have been dealing with the outbreak since November. A quarantine and vaccination effort is focused on nine million pigs and three million head of cattle.

“Through the vaccine bank, the United States, Canada and Mexico have the capacity to assist other countries who are dealing with an FMD outbreak with vaccine antigen to produce additional doses of vaccine,” said John Clifford, Chief Veterinary Officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and one of the commissioners of the vaccine bank. “The Republic of Korea asked for our help in order to stop the spread of FMD in the country, and the three commissioners agreed to assist them.”

“This contribution demonstrates our collective commitment to protecting animal health-both here at home and abroad,” said Dr. Brian Evans, Chief Veterinary Officer and Chief Food Safety Officer for Canada. “We recognize that addressing the emergence of diseases at their source is an important element of global security and such international collaboration directly contributes to our North American pre-border disease prevention efforts.”

The Republic of Korea is already using vaccine it has purchased, but needs additional doses in order to facilitate emergency blanket vaccination. They requested assistance from the North American vaccine bank in order to limit the need for large-scale animal depopulation.

The North American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank maintains a supply of vaccine antigen for this particular strain of the disease as a contingency to address an outbreak in North America, if required. Inventory levels will return to full supply by the end of the year at the latest.