Asia

South Korea detects first African swine fever outbreak

SEOUL: South Korea on Tuesday (Sep 17) reported its first cases of African swine fever, becoming the latest country hit by the disease that has killed pigs from China to North Korea, pushing up pork prices worldwide.

Five pigs found dead at a farm in Paju, a city near the inter-Korean border, were confirmed to have been infected with the virus, an official with Seoul's agriculture ministry told AFP.

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"At this point, it's too early to confirm if the case stemmed from the North," the official added.

READ: Japan culls 753 pigs to contain swine fever outbreak

READ: China to tap strategic meat reserves as pork prices soar

Seoul's agriculture minister Kim Hyun-soo said 3,950 pigs from three farms in Paju were to be culled.

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The virus is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs that is almost always fatal.

There is no antidote or vaccine and the only known way to prevent the disease from spreading is a mass cull of affected livestock.

The confirmed cases in the South came around three months after Pyongyang told the World Organisation for Animal Health that dozens of pigs had died from the disease at a farm near the Chinese border, according to the South's agriculture ministry.

In June, Seoul said the disease was "highly

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