After being free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) for nearly half of a year, South Korea has seen the return of the disease to its pig herd.

According to the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), there have been a total of 20 confirmed FMD outbreaks so far in 2016, affecting almost 37,000 domestic pigs.

The first two outbreaks in January were in North Jeolla Province (Jeollabuk-do) but all of the more recent outbreaks have been in neighboring South Chungcheong Province (Chungcheongnam-do), with a hotspot in Nonsan, where 14 outbreaks have occurred.

While the source of infection is unknown, MAFRA reports that an epidemiological survey is underway. The usual control measures have been implemented: movement control within the country, screening, vaccination in response to the outbreaks, disinfection, quarantine, modified stamping-out, control of wildlife reservoirs and zoning. There is no treatment of affected animals.

Local news agency, Yonhap, reports that the latest outbreaks are stirring up fears that FMD is rapidly spreading across the central areas of the country.