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S. Korea adopts tougher safety measures at ASF-hit farms

All News 11:00 October 07, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Wednesday it has set up new guidelines for pig farms hit by African swine fever (ASF) as they are gradually preparing for reopening after the disease swept the inter-Korean border area last year.

"As the virus can spread by automobiles, people or other mediums, it is necessary to enforce sanitary measures to prevent the farms from contacting the virus," the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement.

The new measures center on providing detailed guidelines on how farms can prevent contagious diseases.

S. Korea adopts tougher safety measures at ASF-hit farms - 1

Under the rules, farms that experienced an ASF case within five years must install fences standing at least 1.5 meter high. They also need to install a disinfection gate for visitors, along with equipment to properly handle animal remains.

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. A total of 14 farms were infected.

Although no new ASF cases have been reported from local farms since October last year, the virus nevertheless has been prevailing among wild boars, which can potentially again infect domestic pigs through contact.

So far, South Korea has reported 756 cases of ASF from wild boars from the border areas, according to the latest data. Yeoncheon, located north of Seoul, accounted for 284, followed by the neighboring Paju with 98 cases.

The country, meanwhile, is currently preparing to allow virus-hit farms to resume their operations this month.

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

colin@yna.co.kr
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