ULAN BATOR, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The western Mongolian province of Govi-Altai has been quarantined for an indefinite period due to the outbreak of the deadly foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in animals, local media reported on Wednesday.
"Currently, the highly contagious FMD has been diagnosed in Sharga, Taishir and Esunbulag soums (administrative subdivisions) in our province, and the prevalence is increasing. Therefore, a quarantine regime has been imposed across the province for an indefinite period," local media quoted the provincial government as saying in a statement.
So far this year, the highly contagious disease, which spreads among cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs, has broken out in more than half of Mongolia's 21 provinces, according to the General Authority for Veterinary Services.
Govi-Altai is one of the western provinces of Mongolia that are adjacent to China.
The livestock sector is a main pillar of the Mongolian economy with around 70 million heads of livestock in the country with a population of around 3.4 million.
The landlocked country is striving to develop its livestock sector by raising meat exports in a bid to diversify its mining-dependent economy, while frequent outbreaks of livestock diseases such as FMD and mad cow disease are impeding the process.
The country's meat exports have been suspended since June due to infectious animal diseases, according to the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Enditem