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Quarantine officials on high alert as 11th ASF confirmed from wild boars

Economy 10:23 October 21, 2019

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEJONG, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's quarantine authorities on Monday confirmed the 11th outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) from wild boars near the border with North Korea, sparking concerns over the further spread of the deadly animal disease in the area.

The latest confirmed case was reported within a civilian control line near the border, according to the Ministry of Environment.

A total of eight ASF cases have been reported within the civilian control line this month, while two cases came from outside of the line. One more case was confirmed from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Quarantine officials have been making efforts to hunt down wild boars in the border areas, deploying hunters and installing traps.

The authorities have hunted nearly 3,000 wild boars since Tuesday, when South Korea announced it would deploy hundreds of soldiers and civilian hunters to areas bordering North Korea for operations to shoot and kill wild boars.

In contrast, no additional ASF infections from local pig farms have been reported since the 14th case was confirmed Oct. 9. So far, all confirmed cases from wild and domestic pigs have come from areas bordering North Korea.

In May, Pyongyang reported its first outbreak of the disease at a farm near its border with China to the World Organization for Animal Health.

Still, it remains unknown how the virus traveled into South Korea. The disease normally spreads through direct contact with infected animals.

The disease is fatal for pigs but does not affect humans. As there are no cures available, South Korea has been culling pigs within a 3-kilometer radius of infected farms to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Since mid-September, when South Korea suffered its first-ever outbreak, the country has culled more than 150,000 pigs.

Additionally, the agricultural ministry is currently purchasing pigs from other farms outside of that range in selected towns to be slaughtered and inspected before their meat is released to the market. Pigs that are not purchased will also eventually be culled.

Quarantine officials on high alert as 11th ASF confirmed from wild boars - 1

colin@yna.co.kr
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