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S. Korea beefs up screening in airport to prevent ASF

All News 11:00 July 07, 2020

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Tuesday it has installed six additional X-ray devices at its main airport as it strengthens the guard against African swine fever (ASF).

The move raised the number of X-ray devices at Incheon International Airport to eight and is designed to prevent travelers from bringing in pork products that can potentially be infected with the virus, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

South Korea has been grappling with a steady rise of ASF cases among wild boars, which can potentially spark another wave of infections among domestic pigs.

S. Korea beefs up screening in airport to prevent ASF - 1

The country confirmed its first-ever outbreak of the animal disease in September 2019. Local authorities have culled about 400,000 domestic pigs as part of preventive measures, virtually sweeping out areas with ASF outbreaks.

Although no additional ASF cases on farms have been reported since early October, authorities have been discovering dead wild boars carrying the disease along the inter-Korean border.

As of the end of June, South Korea has detected 655 cases of ASF from wild boars. All of the infections found here came from areas bordering North Korea.

The animal disease does not affect humans but is deadly to pigs. There is currently no vaccine, nor cure for the disease. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected animals or their remains.

This makes the efforts to prevent the influx of the virus from other countries even more important.

South Korea currently slaps a fine of 5 million won (US$4,200) for travelers bringing in pork products from ASF-infected countries without winning approval in advance. The amount can reach up to 10 million won for people violating the regulation multiple times.


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