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Miyazaki Ends Foot-and-Mouth Emergency

28 July 2010

JAPAN - The Miyazaki prefectural government has lifted its state of emergency concerning foot-and-mouth disease, which had broken out among livestock in the prefecture.

The state of emergency officially ended at midnight Monday and was announced shortly thereafter, in the early minutes of Tuesday morning, by Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru in front of the prefectural government building.

The last remaining ban on animal transfers was removed, and normal services were allowed to resume at prefectural facilities.

The nation's first foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in a decade is moving toward its official conclusion. The first case of infection was announced about three months ago.

The prefecture is scheduled to announce the end of the epidemic as early as 27 August, after completely disposing of manure left behind by livestock that was killed to prevent the spread of the disease, according to the prefectural government.

After announcing the end of the state of emergency throughout the prefecture, Higashikokubaru thanked the people involved in work to prevent the spread of the disease, as well as prefectural residents, at a press conference in front of the prefectural government building.

"I would like to thank many people from the bottom of my heart as we have reached this day through the utmost efforts of those engaged in the epidemic control work, the cooperation of prefectural residents and the support of many, many people over the 98 days since the outbreak of the disease," Higashikokubaru said.

Previously, movement of live animals and meat was forbidden within 10 kilometers of designated infection sites, and live animals in secondary zones within a 20-kilometer radius of such sites could not be moved out of those zones.

With the removal of the prefecture's last remaining restricted areas, centered on a livestock barn in Miyazaki city recognized as the site of the 285th case of infection, pig farmers in Miyazaki resumed shipments of pigs.

Shozo Hidaka, 55, a pig farmer in the city, moved about 800 pigs from Miyazaki to Kobayashi in the same prefecture. His animals have been confined to the restricted area for about two months. During that period, baby pigs were born one after another, doubling the number of his animals from 3,000 to 6,000.

"They were packed like sardines in hog pens. If the lifting of the restriction had come a week later, it would have ended my business. It's been really hard work from this morning, but it's a really comfortable kind of fatigue," he said Tuesday.

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Source: Daily Yomiuri Online


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