South Korea going all-out to stem spread of African swine fever

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs hold an emergency meeting after the second confirmed case of African swine fever was reported in the country (Yonhap)

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs hold an emergency meeting after the second confirmed case of African swine fever was reported in the country (Yonhap)

Seoul: South Korea remained alert on Wednesday to stem the spread of African swine fever across the country after reporting its second confirmed case of the deadly animal disease at a farm near the heavily fortified border with North Korea.

The new case at a pig farm in Yeoncheon was confirmed a day after another case of African swine fever was reported, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The county near the border with North Korea is about 48 kilometers away from Paju, where the first confirmed case of the disease was reported Tuesday.

The quarantine authorities said they will cull 4,700 pigs at the Yeoncheon farm and a neighboring farm. Around 8,500 pigs are being raised by other farms within a 3-kilometer radius of where the second case of African swine fever was confirmed.

On Tuesday, the government slaughtered 4,700 pigs at farms in Paju. The two cases of African swine fever from Paju and Yeoncheon, are not thought to be related, the ministry said.

The first case in South Korea came about four months after North Korea reported its first confirmed case of the disease at a farm near its border with China to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Although African swine fever is not harmful to people, it is fatal and highly infectious for pigs, with no cure currently available.

The disease is mainly spread by contaminated feed or by direct contact with people and wild animals with the virus, according to the ministry.

“While foot-and-mouth disease can spread through air, animals must make direct contact with the virus to be infected with African swine fever,” the ministry said, adding that related authorities are working hard to determine the cause of the outbreaks.

It may take up to six months to find the cause, experts said.

YONHAP

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