In this file:
· Seoul puts up barricades against Kim’s pigs as African swine fever sweeps across Asia
· S. Korea Scrambles to Stop Spread of African Swine Fever After N. Korea Outbreak
· African swine fever in North Korea has South on edge
· “Pig Ebola” is spreading uncontrollably in China and Vietnam
· Swine flu outbreak is a wakeup call to change farming and diets
Seoul puts up barricades against Kim’s pigs as African swine fever sweeps across Asia
Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times (UK)
June 6 2019
South Korea is building fences and laying traps to try to stop North Korean wild boar infecting its pig farms with African swine fever.
The authorities in Pyongyang have ignored pleas from South Korea to co-operate with quarantine measures after the announcement of an outbreak of swine fever close to North Korea’s border with China. North Korea admitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health that 77 pigs had died in Jagang province and that it had culled 22 more. The concern is that this underestimates an epidemic that has already led to more than a million pigs being culled in China, which could cause a rise in pork prices.
Blood tests of pigs on South Korean farms close to the border with North Korea...
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S. Korea Scrambles to Stop Spread of African Swine Fever After N. Korea Outbreak
By Kim Tong-Hyung, Insurance Journal
June 5, 2019
South Korea said Friday that it is scrambling to prevent the spread of the highly contagious African swine fever on its pig industry after North Korea confirmed an outbreak at a farm near its border with China.
South Korea’s agriculture ministry said North Korea reported to the World Organization for Animal Health that 77 of the 99 pigs at a farm in Jagang province died of the disease and another 22 pigs were culled.
The outbreak in North Korea comes after the disease in past months ravaged farms in China, where more than a million pigs have been reportedly culled, and also spread to Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia.
The disease is harmless to humans but for pigs is fatal and highly contagious, and there is no known cure or vaccine.
North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Friday published three different articles detailing the spread of the African swine fever across Asia, but none of them mentioned that the disease has reached the North.
Oh Soon-min, director of quarantine policies at South Korea’s agriculture ministry, said quarantine measures and blood tests will be stepped up in some 350 pig farms near the inter-Korean border. Fences and traps will also be installed near the farms to prevent the pigs from contacting wild boars that roam in and out of North Korea.
“While North Korea’s Jagang province, where the outbreak of the African swine fever was confirmed, is near the border between North Korea and China, we do believe this is a serious situation as there is a possibility that the disease can spread toward the South,” Oh said...
African swine fever in North Korea has South on edge
By Elizabeth Shim, UPI
June 6, 2019
(UPI) -- South Korean authorities are concerned an epidemic of African swine fever could sweep in from North Korea.
North Korea first publicly disclosed to the World Organization for Animal Health an outbreak on May 30 at a state-owned cooperative farm in Jagang Province, not far from China.
China may be the origin of swine fever in the region. The first case was reported in August, and the epidemic has led to the slaughter of 1.2 million pigs in China, North Korea's most important trading partner.
North Korea has not updated the outside world since May on the status of the disease, and whether authorities are handling the situation to mitigate its spread.
Pyongyang's silence is raising concerns in the South, Yonhap reported Thursday.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon suggested Wednesday during a visit to an animal hygiene facility in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province, that animal carriers crossing the Korean demilitarized zone could carry the disease and damage pig farms in the South.
"A wild boar can travel at [more than 9 mph], and there is no guarantee wild boars remain exclusively in Jagang Province," Lee said.
The prime minister also said it can be readily assumed the disease would have at this point traveled as far south as Kaesong, the North Korean city situated close to the DMZ.
Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said this week he is monitoring the situation for reports of other outbreaks south of Jagang Province.
The situation poses stiff challenges for Seoul because Pyongyang has refused to answer calls for direct communication. According to Yonhap, North Koreans also raise pigs on privately owned farms, making the disease harder to track by the state...
“Pig Ebola” is spreading uncontrollably in China and Vietnam
It’s an unprecedented outbreak of a virus that’s deadly to pigs.
By Vox Staff
Jun 6, 2019
An unprecedented outbreak of African swine fever, a highly contagious disease that’s been called “pig Ebola,” is ravaging Asia’s pig industry with no signs of letting up.
The current outbreak of the virus, which kills almost all infected animals, began in China in August. Since then, some 22 percent of the country’s pig herd has been lost to the disease and to culling, Christine McCracken, an animal protein expert at Rabobank, told Vox. African swine fever is also now spreading in several countries neighboring China, including Mongolia, Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The map below shows current outbreaks in Asia, as reported to the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE.
African swine fever, which was discovered a century ago in Kenya, is particularly deadly to pigs because it spreads easily and there is no treatment or vaccine. The only way for pig producers to prevent it is to kill all animals that have been infected or potentially exposed, or to put strict biosecurity measures in place.
Officials in China have tried in vain to get the outbreak under control to protect the country’s roughly 440 million pigs, which make up more than half of all pigs on earth. So far, it says it has culled 1.2 million pigs, putting thousands of small producers out of business. McCracken and others say that is a significant underestimate.
By the end of the year, she estimates China will be forced to cull more than 200 million pigs. That’s an astonishingly high number, considering that a single pig can produce 200 pounds of food. It’s also remarkable when you compare it to the 250 million poultry in 63 countries that were culled following the outbreak of avian flu in China in 1996.
This African swine fever outbreak, in other words, is much worse than that avian flu outbreak in terms of livestock losses. “It’s historic; there’s never been anything like this in the history of modern animal production,” said McCracken. “And it’s a frightening situation only in that there is no current control.”
Though China is the epicenter and the worst-affected country, Vietnam has also been forced to cull 2 million of its 30 million pigs, according to Reuters. And tourists have brought the disease into several countries in Europe, including Poland and Romania, where it’s spreading among wild boar...
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Swine flu outbreak is a wakeup call to change farming and diets
Katherine Martinko, Treehugger
June 6, 2019
The way we're doing things clearly doesn't work.
The Year of the Pig is not going so well in China. A devastating outbreak of African swine flu, first detected last August but unable to be contained, has resulted in more than one million pigs being slaughtered so far. Some estimate that up to 200 million will need to be culled in order to stem the spread of the disease.
The African swine flu virus is highly contagious, lingering for weeks on clothing and vehicles, which allows it to spread rapidly and afar. With Southeast Asia's borders being very porous, this is an extremely serious concern for officials trying to contain the outbreak. From the Guardian:
"It has spread like wildfire across Asia, causing growing devastation to the pig farmers of Vietnam and Cambodia and putting Thailand, Asia’s second-biggest pork producer, on 'red alert'. Cases have increased in Mongolia, North Korea and Hong Kong in recent weeks, while South Korea is blood testing pigs at the border."
There is no vaccine or treatment for it, and the pigs die from internal haemorrhaging. The disease has been dubbed the pig 'ebola' virus, and the only way to stop it is to slaughter all infected animals.
Dr. Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at the City University of Hong Kong, says it's the biggest animal disease outbreak the planet has seen so far. "It makes the foot and mouth disease and BSE [Bovine spongiform encephalopathy] outbreaks pale in comparison to the damage that is being done. And we have no way to stop it from spreading."
Already, pork prices have spiked globally, with U.S. and European producers exporting more of their products than usual to China and Vietnam, the two hardest-hit countries, to compensate for the shortage. Pork is the most commonly consumed meat in Vietnam, making up 75 percent of its meat, and "the agriculture sector in Vietnam employs almost 50 percent of the workforce, with pork farming a significant part of that."
The one silver lining is that African swine flu does not infect humans, but it's only a matter of time until another animal disease outbreak does. Then we're in really serious trouble because antibiotic resistance is on the rise – precisely because of all the antibiotics we've been feeding to industrially-farmed animals in order to stave off illnesses triggered by their cramped, inhumane conditions and to fatten them rapidly. It's a cruel irony that is sure to spell disaster.
As the U.S. National Institutes of Health explained following the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, the way in which animals are farmed is at the root of these outbreaks:
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