Epidemiological characteristics of the 2002 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the Republic of Korea.
The Republic of Korea experienced a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak during May-June 2002. The present study describes epidemiological characteristics of the 2002 FMD outbreak in Korea, including the pattern of the outbreak in both time and space, transmission routes among infected farms, and control measures. One of the notable features of the 2002 FMD epidemic in Korea was that the virus infected mostly pigs [15 of 16 infected premises (IPs)], despite the presence of other susceptible animals on infected and neighbouring farms. The epidemic showed temporal clustering at 8-9 day intervals, suggesting five generations of infection during the outbreak, and 13 of 16 (81.3%) IPs were located within a 10 km-radius of the index case. The clinical signs that prompted notification of infection included vesicles around hooves and snouts. The age of lesions was significantly less among cases reported by farmers compared with veterinarians. The high awareness of farmers from an earlier FMD outbreak greatly helped the animal hygiene authority in efforts associated with disease control and eradication. The outbreak was eradicated within <2 months as a result of the intensive control efforts of the animal hygiene authorities and the cooperation of the Korean people. Although the outbreak was a costly lesson for the Korean people, the experience gained will contribute to future efforts in the prevention and control of animal infectious diseases.