According to reports, lab tests on September 24 confirmed the fifth reported case since last week of swine fever from a farm in Ganghwa. It is an island which shares its border with North Korea. South Korea has reportedly boosted its efforts of disinfecting the farms around the country as it scrambles to contain to spread of highly contagious African swine fever. The virus is said to have already devastated the farms near its border with North Korea. The recent positive cases of this fever have raised fears in the country of more swine fever and losing the battle to halt the spread of illness. Swine fever has previously been known to wipe huge populations across Asia.
Officials are currently investigating the suspected case at another farm in Ganghwa, where two pigs died while another had a miscarriage. According to South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, hundreds of officials have been posted for the inspection of the cleaning process at big pig farms, slaughterhouses, and feed mills around the country. However, it all came to a stop for 48 hours on orders by the government.
Government workers in lab coats and masks guarded the roadblocks near the farms in the border areas where huge pits were dug for burying and killing of thousands of infected pigs. The gates, along with the entrances and grounds of many farms were covered with a disinfectant, calcium oxide.
Even though African swine fever is harmless to people, it would be very difficult to contain if it spread from the farms to densely populated areas. There's no cure yet found for this illness which is fatal for pigs. Approximately 22,000 pigs have been slaughtered last week since the first outbreak in the border towns of Paju and Yeoncheon. Officials have not yet identified the infection route.
As South Korean diets largely constitute of pork, the outbreak has raised concerns about affecting the industry with nearly 6,300 farms which are currently raising 11 million pigs. Before reaching the Korean countries, swine fever had infected farms in China and other Asian countries.
(With inputs from AP)