November 7, 2003



South Korea Detected Blue Tongue Disease in US Cattle Imports

South Korea's National Veterinary Research & Quarantine Service (NVRQS) reported Wednesday that eight of 762 cattle imported from the United States between October 21 and 24 were infected with blue tongue disease, considered a first-grade cattle disease in the country.


The agency said it would again inspect and quarantine the rest of the 754 cattle, inform the U.S. government of the infection and request American officials devise measures to prevent the reoccurrence of such an incident.


So far, there has been no report of the disease among Korean cattle, according to the NVRQS.


Blue tongue disease, or catarrhal fever, is a viral disease of sheep and less frequently infected by cattle, goats, buffalo, deer and antelope. There are no reports of any human having caught the disease and it seems to be confined to certain species of animals.


The disease has been observed in Australia, the United States, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It is transmitted by biting midges and its major symptoms are high fever, excessive salivation, swelling of the face and tongue and cyanosis of the tongue. The incubation period is about one week and all symptoms usually develop within one month.

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