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(LEAD) S. Korea confirms 9th African swine fever case

All Headlines 10:50 September 27, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 3, 5-10)
By Kang Yoon-seung

SEJONG, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Friday confirmed its ninth African swine fever (ASF) case, sparking concerns over a massive spread of the deadly animal virus near the inter-Korean border.

The latest case was reported on Ganghwa Island, part of the city of Incheon, some 60 kilometers west of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

So far, five out of the nine confirmed cases came from Ganghwa, making it the most vulnerable region to the fatal disease.

The first-ever case of the deadly pig disease in the country was reported on Sept. 17. All confirmed cases so far have been in inter-Korean border areas.

On Thursday, the ministry extended a movement ban for all pig farms, slaughterhouses and related facilities across the country through Saturday to prevent the spread of ASF.

The virus is harmless to humans but is highly contagious and fatal for pigs. There is no cure or vaccine and the only known way to prevent the disease from spreading is the culling of affected livestock.

As of Friday morning, South Korea had slaughtered nearly 30,000 pigs with more than 60,000 pigs set to be slaughtered in total, according to the ministry. The figure is set to increase further when more ASF cases are confirmed.

All parts of Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, along with the neighboring Gangwon Province, have been designated as tightly controlled zones subject to more stringent disinfection operations and checkups.

Vehicles involved in the livestock industry in northern Gyeonggi Province are also banned from traveling outside of the areas.

As the incubation period of ASF is up to 19 days, experts say South Korea may suffer a sharp increase in the number of ASF cases in the northern areas.

(LEAD) S. Korea confirms 9th African swine fever case - 1

colin@yna.co.kr
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