MIYAZAKI, Japan, June 12 (UPI) -- A foot-and-mouth disease outbreak on the island of Kyushu is a "national crisis," Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Saturday during a visit to the area.
Kan met with livestock farmers in Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyodo news service reported. He promised help from the national government in containing the disease and helping them rebuild their farms, calling the outbreak a "national crisis."
Foot-and-mouth disease is caused by a virus and is highly contagious and sometimes lethal to the animals. The disease affects many domestic animals, including cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs, as well as some wild animals, and can be spread by animals not vulnerable to the disease like dogs, Kyodo said.
Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru said later at a meeting with the prime minister that as many as one-quarter of the livestock in the prefecture may have to be slaughtered to stop the disease.