South Korea confirms 2nd case of African swine fever

South Korea's farms are on high alert after the first case of swine fever was found there. Now officials hope to avoid the fate of China, where hundreds of millions of hogs could be lost.
Workers wearing protective suits and drive pigs to slaughter at a farm where pigs were confirmed to have been infected with African swine fever in Paju, on Sept 17, 2019.
Workers wearing protective suits and drive pigs to slaughter at a farm where pigs were confirmed to have been infected with African swine fever in Paju, on Sept 17, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea has confirmed its second case of African swine fever at a pig farm near the country's border with North Korea, a day after the country's first outbreak of the deadly virus, deadly to pigs but not harmful to humans.  

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 18) that the second case was detected at a farm in Yeoncheon, north-west of the capital Seoul, where 4,700 pigs had been raised.

North Korea reported its first case in late May.

The first outbreak of African swine fever in East Asia was reported in China in early August 2018, and the virus has since spread across Asia.

The disease is nearly 100 per cent fatal and highly contagious among pigs, with no known cure or vaccine.

The ministry said all of the pigs at the Yeoncheon farm would be slaughtered, pledging vigilance in efforts to contain the outbreak and ensure stable pork supplies.

After the first case was discovered, South Korea raised its animal disease alert level to the highest available and ramped up disinfection measures, including a temporary nationwide movement ban of hogs and related livestock.

With stockpiles and the national pig herd currently bigger than usual, the ministry said it expected the culling to have a limited impact on national pork supplies.