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South Korea confirms 13th case of African swine fever

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South Korea confirmed two additional cases of deadly African swine fever at pig farms in towns near its border with North Korea, the country's agriculture ministry said on Thursday.

[SEOUL] South Korea confirmed two additional cases of deadly African swine fever at pig farms in towns near its border with North Korea, the country's agriculture ministry said on Thursday.

The latest confirmation brings the total number of cases of detected since the first outbreak on Sept 17 to 13, underlining the urgency of efforts to contain the disease that has swept across Asia since arriving in China last year.

Fatal to pigs with no known cure or vaccine, the disease isn't harmful to humans. It has now spread to over 50 countries, according to the World Organisation of Animal Health, with many millions of pigs killed, and analysts estimating China lost about half its hog herd in the first eight months of 2019.

South Korea has so far culled about 115,000 pigs and has attached 'highest alert' status to a campaign that has included ramping up disinfection measures and putting a temporary nationwide ban on the transport of hogs and related livestock. The agriculture ministry said on Thursday it would update cull numbers soon.

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With previous disinfection measures rendered ineffective due to heavy rains from Typhoon Mitag that affected the country on late Wednesday and early Thursday, Agriculture Minister Kim Hyeon Soo called for redoubled disinfection efforts on Thursday.

South Korea is still looking into the source of the virus, but all of the cases have been found on hog farms near its border with North Korea, which reported an outbreak in May.

REUTERS