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(2nd LD) S. Korea to cull nearly 2,500 pigs following year's first outbreak of African swine fever

All News 16:30 October 09, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline and lead; ADDS ministry official's comments in paras 3-4, background in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it will cull nearly 2,500 pigs after confirming the country's first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in a year.

The country plans to cull a total of 2,465 pigs -- 940 in the farm in the eastern county of Hwacheon and 1,125 in two neighboring farms within a 10-kilometer radius of the infected farm, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

"The government is looking into the transmission route of ASF, while focusing on quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the deadly disease," a ministry official said over the phone.

Wild boars are widely presumed to have infected pigs in the affected farm but the investigation is under way, he said.

This photo taken on Oct. 9, 2020 shows quarantine workers in the culling of pigs at a farm confirmed to be infected with African swine fever in Hwacheon, 120 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Three pigs were found dead at the Hwacheon farm late Thursday, and test results showed that they were infected with the animal disease. The infected farm had been raising some 940 pigs.

The country issues a special 48-hour travel ban on livestock-related facilities in Gyeonggi and Gangwon Province, effective of 5:00 a.m.

Last year, ASF swept through pig farms in northern regions covering Gyeonggi and Gangwon Provinces, prompting authorities to cull about 400,000 pigs nationwide as part of preventive measures. A total of 14 farms were infected.

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

So far, South Korea has reported more than 750 cases of ASF from wild boars from the border areas, according to the latest data.

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

South Korea has been moving to allow pig farms in the inter-Korean border area to resume their operations, as no additional cases among domestic pigs were reported for about 11 months.

South Korea reported its first African swine fever outbreak on Sept. 16, last year, about four months after North Korea confirmed its first case.

Most of the confirmed cases in South Korea have been reported from areas near the inter-Korean border, with bodies of infected wild boars discovered there.

This photo taken on Oct. 9, 2020, shows quarantine workers burying culled pigs near a hog farm in Hwacheon, 120 kilometers east of Seoul, after an outbreak of African swine fever was reported in the region for the first time since October 2019. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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