South Korea will struggle to stem the spread of African swine fever, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday, following the first case of the animal disease near the border with North Korea.
Kim Hyeon-soo, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, said quarantine officials are set to complete the culling of some 4,000 pigs at three farms, including the one where the disease broke out, in Paju, just south of the inter-Korean border, by Tuesday.
“We will make our efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever,” Kim said in a news conference at a government building in Sejong, an administrative hub located 130 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
The move came hours after South Korea confirmed the case of the highly contagious virus at the farm where five pigs died Monday.
Still, Kim said officials have yet to determine the exact cause of the highly contagious virus occurring in South Korea.
The case came about four months after North Korea reported its first confirmed case of the disease at a farm near its border with China to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Since its outbreak in China in August last year, the disease has spread to neighboring countries, including Mongolia and Vietnam.
South Korea imposed a nationwide standstill on all pig farms, slaughter houses and feed factories for 48 hours, beginning at 6:30 a.m.
This means any animal, people or equipment may not be removed from farms for the duration, while those already en route to other farms or related facilities must find a secure place to sit out the temporary lockdown, the ministry said.
The animal disease does not affect humans but is deadly to pigs. There are currently no vaccines nor cures for the disease.
By The Korea Herald (ANN) and The China Post
Translated by Carol Kan