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MIYAZAKI (Kyodo) Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru declared Friday an end to the foot-and-mouth epidemic that has severely hit livestock in the prefecture, more than four months after the first case was reported.

“We have completed steps to eradicate the virus,” Higashikokubaru told a news conference at the prefectural government building. “I declare an end to the foot-and-mouth disease in the prefecture.”

The outbreak, which began in late April, forced Miyazaki to slaughter some 289,000 pigs and cows, and impose a ban on transfers of livestock.

The latest announcement comes after the prefectural government lifted its last ban on the transfers of animals in late July and announced Thursday that all 1,250 affected farms had completed procedures to detoxify and dispose of manure to ensure the complete eradication of the virus.

The disease also led to temporary closures of public facilities and cancellations of nearly 300 sports and other public events, while the prefecture asked residents in the affected areas and their vicinities to refrain from going out unless absolutely necessary.

The first confirmed case of foot-and-mouth disease in the recent outbreak was reported in the town of Tsuno on April 20, before it spread to 11 municipalities, including the city of Miyakonojo, one of the nation’s biggest livestock centers.

The governor declared a state of emergency on May 18 that was partially lifted July 1 after all animals in the affected areas were culled.

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