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Japan culls 546 hogs in first swine fever outbreak in 26 years

Tokyo

FOLLOWING Japan's first outbreak of swine fever in 26 years, a local government said on Tuesday that it had culled 546 hogs in the centre of Honshu, the country's largest and most populous island.

An official with the Gifu prefecture government said that more than 65 hogs had died since Sept 3, and the cull was carried out in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

Checks had been undertaken at other farms in the prefecture and no other cases had been found, he said.

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The outbreak of the fever - a different strain from the deadly African swine fever that has broken out in China - was detected at a farm in cen-tral Gifu city, the agriculture ministry said on Sunday.

The disease found in Gifu is classical swine fever (CSF), also known as hog cholera, an official at the agriculture ministry said. It occurs among pigs and wild boar, and is not infectious for humans.

The origin and cause of the infection in Gifu were under investigation, he added.

Japan suspended exports of pork and wild boar meat after the outbreak was identified. Japan is the world's 10th largest pork producer, and exports about 12 billion yen (S$148 million) worth of pork products annually.

"We don't know when we resume exports of pork, but we are discussing with the countries we export pork products to about conditions to restart," the ministry official said.

African swine fever was detected in China in early August and China reported its 14th outbreak of the disease on Monday.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Friday that around 40,000 hogs had been culled so far in China, home to the world's largest pig herd, and warned of the likelihood that the disease would spread to other Asian countries. REUTERS