In this file:


·         South Korea reports more suspected swine fever cases

·         The disease killing Asia’s pigs continues to spread

·         National movement restrict measure for ASF lifted outside outbreak areas



South Korea reports more suspected swine fever cases


By Kim Tong-Hyung, Associated Press

via San Francisco Chronicle - Sep. 20, 2019


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea said Friday that it is investigating more suspected cases of African swine fever in farms near its border with North Korea, as fears grow over the spread of the illness that has decimated pig herds across Asia.


South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Gyeonggi provincial government said officials are testing samples of three dead pigs from two farms in Paju, a city where the country's first case of the disease was confirmed Monday. Test results were expected to come out Friday night.


The two Paju farms, which raise more than 7,000 pigs combined, were also within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of a farm in the nearby town of Yeoncheon, where a second case of the disease was confirmed Tuesday, said Park Byeong-hong, an agriculture ministry official.


"We dispatched quarantine officials to the farms to prevent the movement of people, animals and vehicles and to disinfect facilities," Park said in a news conference in Sejong City. "If the cases are confirmed as African swine fever, we will immediately conduct quarantine measures required under our standard procedure, such as urgent culling operations."


African swine fever is harmless to humans but highly contagious and fatal for pigs as there is no known cure. It has decimated herds in China and other Asian countries.


South Korea has stepped up efforts to contain the disease, which may have crossed from North Korea, where an outbreak was reported near its border with China in late May. South Korean workers had culled some 10,400 pigs at border area farms as of Friday morning and were in process of killing and burying about 5,000 more, the agriculture ministry said.


The ministry said quarantine officials were testing blood from pigs at some 100 farms within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of the infected farms in Paju and Yeoncheon, and that samples from 56 farms had come back negative.


About 6,300 farms in South Korea raise more than 11 million pigs. South Korean officials have said the next three weeks would be crucial for fighting the outbreak, considering the disease's incubation periods.


Officials have stepped up efforts to disinfect farms and vehicles. They imposed temporary bans on farms near the border from transporting their pigs to other areas and began inspections of some 200 slaughter houses, feed factories and artificial insemination facilities that deal with large numbers of pig farms across the country.


More traps and nets will be installed to capture wild boars that roam in and out of North Korea, which some experts see as a potential source of the outbreak in South Korea. South Korea's Defense Ministry has dispatched soldiers to support quarantine efforts and monitor areas along a river that flows through the border between the Koreas...





The disease killing Asia’s pigs continues to spread

But South Korea is in a good position to curb the contagion


The Economist

Sep 19, 2019


SEOUL | THE BORDER guards were to attempt to catch the infiltrators alive but, if that failed, to shoot to kill. But somehow, a few stealthy interlopers seem to have managed to sneak past the hundreds of thousands of soldiers defending South Korea from its hostile neighbour to the north. The South Korean authorities were desperate to stop the wild boars in question, for fear that they might inadvertently import African swine fever, a disease known to have been present in North Korea since May. On September 17th the South Korean government confirmed that five pigs on a farm in Paju, close to the border, had died of swine fever. The government immediately issued a 48-hour ban on moving pigs and said that 4,000 pigs on and near the affected farm would be culled. But the next day it reported a second case in a neighbouring county. Authorities are still investigating what caused these outbreaks, but wild boar are plausible suspects.


South Korea is the latest country in Asia to be affected by the disease, which is harmless to humans but usually deadly for pigs and for which there is neither a cure nor a vaccine. Since the first case was reported in China a little over a year ago, it has spread across the continent. It reached Mongolia in January, Vietnam in February and Cambodia in April. Laos reported its first case in June. In August it spread to Myanmar and earlier this month to the Philippines...


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National movement restrict measure for ASF lifted outside outbreak areas 

Prices of pork expected to stabilize as supplies normalize


By Park Ki-yong, Hankyoreh (S.Korea) 

Sep.20, 2019


A nationwide movement restriction measure was lifted on Sept. 19, 48 hours after the first case of African swine fever (ASF) in South Korea was confirmed. While no additional confirmed or suspected cases were found outside of two farms in Paju and Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province, the failure to yet determine the infection pathway has farmers fearful. The government is now proceeding with virus testing on bodies of water originating in North Korea and wild boars near the farms where the virus was found.


The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced that a temporary order restricting movement at around 6,300 pig farms nationwide had been lifted as of 6:30 am on Sept. 19. A movement restriction will remain in place for one week for Paju and Yeoncheon, where ASF cases have been found. Restrictions on vehicle and foot traffic are also to be continued with the stationing of control posts at every entrance to 437 pig farms (over 700,000 animals total) in those two communities and four other border cities and counties designated as “focused administration zones.” Quicklime is being spread at farm entrances and on major roads, while soldiers and disease prevention staff are performing sterilization procedures. Transport of swine outside the regions is prohibited for a three-week period, with slaughtering and shipping only allowed through four designated slaughterhouses. Restrictions on pen access will remain in place over the same period for all individuals except those visiting for disease treatment purposes.


With the lifting of the movement restriction order, MAFRA predicted that swine transactions on the wholesale market would return to normal as of that afternoon, allowing pork prices to regain a stable footing thanks to supplies that had previously gone unshipped due to the temporary halt on movement. No major fluctuation was observed for consumer prices after the first cases were identified. Wholesale prices rose by 32.6% and 40.8% on Sept. 17 and 18, respectively, but consumer prices for pork belly were found to have increased only slightly over the same period; a survey of 45 traditional markets and supermarkets in 19 cities and provinces nationwide showed the average price for 100 grams rising from 2,013 won (US$1.69) to 2,029 won (US$1.71) and again to 2,044 won (US$1.72).


The supermarkets and other stores have independently acquired enough volume for one to two weeks, so it isn’t having an impact on consumer prices,” MAFRA observed.


The problem has been an inability to determine the cause of the cases and the pathway behind the virus’s transmission. Fears of a spread are growing after confirmation that some of the vehicles visiting the two farms (19 vehicles in the Paju case, 13 in the Yeoncheon case) also visited the southern part of South Korea, including North Gyeongsang Province and South Jeolla Province. MAFRA said on Sept. 19 that a total of 507 farms and facilities were “epidemiologically connected” to the farms where the cases occurred – meaning that the vehicles either visited during the virus’s incubation period or used the same feed or slaughterhouses. In addition to neighboring areas in Gyeonggi and Gangwon Province, connected farms and facilities were also found farther south in South Chungcheong Province (13), South Jeolla Province (four), and North Gyeongsang Province (three).


A MAFRA official explained...