South Korea on high alert after swine fever found

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on September 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:33s

South Korea on high alert after swine fever found

South Korea's farms are on high alert after the first case of swine fever was found there.

Now officials hope to avoid the fate of China, where hundreds of millions of hogs could be lost.

David Pollard reports.


South Korea on high alert after swine fever found

South Korea is on high alert after discovering its first case of swine fever.

The deadly disease was discovered at a pig farm near its border with North Korea.

Concerns had been high, with the fever raging through China's hog population.

Back in Seoul, the government promised swift action.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREA'S AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS MINISTER, KIM HYEON-SOO, SAYING: "The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs immediately raised the alert level for Africa swine fever to its highest level as soon as it was confirmed." South Korea has imposed a nationwide ban on the movement of pigs while it looks for the source of the virus.

About 4,000 will be culled to help stop it spreading.

Officials want to avoid China's fate.

Experts say it could lose more than half of its 360 million pigs due to disease or culling.

There's concern around the region too, with reports of outbreaks in Vietnam and the Philippines.

That has shoppers in Manila spooked: (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) PORK MEAT SHOPKEEPER, LISA APOLINARIO, SAYING: "Sales were badly hit because the impression people get from media reports is really strong.

People see Swine Fever news on TV, then they believe all the pork in the market is infected, but I assure them that it's not the case because we have a certificate direct from the pig dealer." Swine fever poses no danger to humans.

But pork is the most popular meat in much of Asia.

The average South Korean eats 27 kilos of it every year.

Any shortage, or any spike in prices, will go down very badly.

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