Swine fever fears prompt livestock product ban

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Swine fever fears prompt livestock product ban

Korea has banned people from bringing in livestock products when they return home after traveling abroad, in its latest effort to prevent African swine fever from entering the country, Agriculture Minister Lee Gae-ho said Tuesday.

Korea has ramped up quarantine measures after authorities found traces of the disease from a sausage product brought in by a Chinese traveler last month.

Announcing the new pan-government measures, Lee told reporters that African swine fever could cause “significant national damage” if it spreads to Korea because there is no vaccine or cure.

Lee urged people to refrain from visiting livestock farms or infected areas when they travel to countries where the disease has been reported, including China, Vietnam and Mongolia.

Lee also called for foreigners living in Korea not to bring in livestock products when they return to Korea after trips to their home countries.

Quarantine authorities have utilized big data to increase animal virus tests on air routes that have high numbers of unregistered livestock product import cases.

Lee said more X-ray screening will be carried out at airports and sea ports.

China has reported more than 100 cases of the African swine fever since August last year.

The rising number of swine fever cases has raised fear in Korea as China produces almost 700 million pigs a year, or about half of the world’s total.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that outbreaks of the disease in China may spread to other parts of Asia.

The FAO has recommended Asian nations to strengthen intraregional networks on disease management and diagnostic protocol, while recommending better understanding of pig and pork value chains within the country and with neighboring countries as an essential task for improved risk management.

African swine fever is not harmful to humans.

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