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African Swine Fever Hits Farms in South Korea

A farmhouse in Paju was diagnosed with African Swine Fever (ASF) for the first time in South Korea on September 17th. ASF is an infectious viral disease that causes hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in pigs. A total of 14 ASF cases were reported in the neighboring areas of North Korea, including Northern Gyeonggi and Gangwon Province, on October 12th. Accordingly, the government culled all pigs totaling up to about 155,000 in the farms in outbreak regions on October 14th. To control further spread of disease, the government is trying to reinforce the prevention of epidemics with various measures such as a temporary ban on the transport of pigs and the disinfection of slaughterhouse and livestock vehicles. There are two probable causes of ASF: wild boar and the typhoon. First, given that the outbreak of the disease has occurred in the frontline areas, it is suggested that the infected boars from North Korea may carry the virus with them. Also, considering how Typhoon Lingling passed the Korean Peninsula during the incubation period of the ASF, experts suggested that virus contaminants or remnants from North Korea could have been carried with the typhoon and spread around the western sea. Regarding the spread of ASF, some argue that the slow response of the government played a role in lax disinfection. Experts have continuously pointed out the possibility that the virus was introduced from North Korea. The Ministry of National Defense, however, started to take preventive measures against epidemics from October 4th, when a dead boar near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) appeared to have the ASF virus. Besides, other issues, such as compensation for the killing of infected swine, pollution of soil and underground water, and further price increases of pork-related products, have also been raised.

김기주  ggelizk27@skku.edu

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