S.Korea warns over swine fever via wild boars

Seoul, South Korea’s quarantine authorities remained alert on Sunday over the potential nationwide spread of African swine fever (ASF) after wild boars were found dead with traces of the disease north of Seoul.

The quarantine authorities said Saturday two wild boars, found dead in Cheorwon, 90 kilometers north of Seoul and bordering North Korea, were tested positive for the deadly animal disease, marking the first time traces of ASF had been found in Gangwon Province, according to the South Korean News Agency (Yonhap).

South Korea has confirmed 14 cases of ASF at local pig farms since mid-September, when the country experienced its first-ever outbreak of the highly contagious disease. Since October 9, there have been no additional confirmed ASF cases.

The disease is not harmful to people, but it is fatal for pigs, and there are no cures currently available.

How the virus traveled into South Korea remains unknown, although some suspect that it came from North Korea. The disease is spread through direct contact with animals carrying the virus or by contaminated feed.

Although it is unlikely the wild boars traveled into the country straight from the North, it is possible their infection came from there indirectly.

In May, North Korea reported its first outbreak of the disease — at a farm near its border with China — to the World Organization for Animal Health.

Source: Bahrain News Agency