BEIJING, May 1, 2009 (AFP) - An outbreak of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease has been discovered among dairy cows in east China near Shanghai, according to the country's agriculture ministry.
The disease came to light when cows started to become sick on April 15 at a dairy cow breeding farm in Changzhou city in Jiangsu province, a statement on the ministry's website late Thursday said.
"At present, the epidemic is under effective control," the statement said, adding a national laboratory confirmed the disease on Thursday.
No details were given of the numbers of cows sickened, but all cow herds in the "dairy cow breeding district" were culled, according to the ministry, which did not specify how large the district was.
Quarantine and disinfection measures were implemented immediately after the discovery of the disease, it added.
China's last reported foot and mouth disease outbreak was in February this year on a farm on the outskirts of Shanghai.
The disease only rarely affects humans, but is very contagious among cloven-hoofed animals, including sheep, goats and cattle, and can kill them.