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ASF cases traced to wild boars on clear decline ahead of farm reopening

All News 09:23 October 02, 2020

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- The number of African swine fever (ASF) cases from wild boars has decreased sharply over the past months, data showed Friday, paving the way for the country's virus-hit farms to resume their operations this month as planned.

South Korea plans to allow pig farms hit by ASF last year to resume their operations starting early October, as no additional cases among domestic pigs were reported for about a year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

Last year, ASF swept through pig farms in the inter-Korean border area, covering Gyeonggi and Gangwon Provinces, prompting South Korea to cull about 400,000 pigs nationwide as part of preventive measures.

On the back of such measures, daily new cases of ASF from wild boars reached 4.4 over the January-April period, but it has dropped to only 1.1 since May, the country's environment ministry data showed.

ASF cases traced to wild boars on clear decline ahead of farm reopening - 1

Although no new ASF cases were reported from local farms since October last year, the country had been reluctant to give the go-ahead to the operations of pig farms in the area amid rising concerns over possible virus transmission from wild boars to domestic pigs.

Nearly 750 ASF cases have been reported from wild boars.

The virus spreads through direct contact with infected animals or their remains.

South Korea has been making efforts to prevent wild boars from coming into contact with domestic pigs by providing cash subsidies to hunters and utilizing the latest technologies to track down wild boars.

Gyeonggi Province said the number of wild boar-linked ASF cases in the region only came in at two in September, indicating it is unlikely for the farms in Paju, Yeoncheon, and Gimpo to suffer a new round of outbreaks.

South Korea identified its first ASF case from a farm in Paju on Sept. 16. A total of 14 cases were reported from farms through Oct. 9.

The animal disease does not affect humans but is deadly to pigs. There is currently no vaccine or cure for the disease.


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