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alltransline 2019-09-17 19:02:12
제 목 1st outbreak of swine fever confirmed in Korea
1st outbreak of swine fever confirmed in Korea
Posted : 2019-09-17 15:42
Updated : 2019-09-17 18:42

A first case of African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, with the quarantine authorities culling more than 4,000 pigs, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday. A pig farm in Yeoncheon reported a suspected case of the swine fever, the ministry added later in the day, without providing any further details.Yeoncheon, a county near the border with North Korea, is located 48 kilometers from Paju.

The outbreak of the deadly virus has put the government on edge, with it ordering a 48-hour movement ban on all pig farms nationwide as of 6:30 a.m. Local governments have also stepped up their own efforts to prevent any spread of the disease. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the first case was confirmed at 6:30 a.m. at a pig farm in the inter-Korean border town following an owner reporting five dead pigs Monday evening.

"The ministry has raised its animal disease alert to the highest level," Agriculture Minister Kim Hyeon-soo said in a press briefing at the Government Complex Sejong. "As part of efforts to prevent the spread of the swine fever, shipping pigs out of Gyeonggi Province will be banned for a week."

He added the quarantine authorities plan to disinfect 6,300 pig farms across the country and has banned them feeding leftover animal feed, which is known to be one vector for the disease to spread. The authorities also slaughtered 2,450 pigs at the infected farm, along with an additional 2,250 at two nearby farms run by the owner's family as a precaution.

African swine fever is transmitted by wild boars to domestic pigs and there is no vaccine or cure for the disease that causes fever and bleeding. The virus does not affect people. Agriculture Minister Kim Hyeon-soo announces the nation's first outbreak of African swine fever during a press conference at the Government Complex Sejong, Tuesday. / Yonhap

More severe strains can kill animals within 10 days of infection and could wipe out entire livestock farms.Over a million pigs have been culled in China, where the first outbreak was reported last August. Since then, the highly contagious disease has spread across China's borders into Mongolia, Vietnam and Cambodia. The ASF outbreak here comes months after North Korea confirmed cases of the contagious disease May 30. As a result, Seoul implemented quarantine measures in border areas in June. No cases were reported at the time.

While the relevant authorities are carrying out an epidemiological investigation to find out the exact cause of the outbreak, there is growing suspicion that the disease may have been transmitted from the North as no other vectors have been found ― the owner of the farm did not use leftover food; the farm has set up fences to prevent possible contact between its pigs and wild boars; the farm owner has not visited any other countries; and the four Nepalese workers there have also not been to other countries for months.

However, the government is remaining cautious on concluding that the virus came from the North.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon convened an emergency meeting of relevant government organizations, and told them to take swift action to prevent the disease from spreading. He also ordered the strengthening of quarantine checks at ports and airports, and told officials to raise public awareness that ASF is not transmitted to people, in order to prevent fears about pork consumption.
<The Korea Times>
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