African swine fever virus detected

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African swine fever virus detected

Agriculture Minister Lee Gae-ho, center, inspects Incheon International Airport's border quarantine measures, Saturday, in the wake of the nation's detection of the African swine fever virus gene. / Yonhap

By Kim Hyun-bin

The deadly African swine fever has been discovered in Korea, putting the quarantine authorities on alert.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Sunday, a virus gene of the disease was found in two processed pork products that were brought in and voluntarily reported by two travelers who visited Shenyang, China, earlier this month.

The highly contagious pig disease was first reported Aug. 3 in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang.

Quarantine officials conducted a polymerase chain reaction test which detected the virus gene. They are currently checking whether the virus gene is alive. The final test results are expected to be released Monday.

"The travelers brought in banned products including one Korean sausage and one pack of dumplings and voluntarily reported to quarantine officials at the airport," the agriculture ministry said, adding the products were disposed.

"The products have been heated up, so there is little possibility the virus could be contagious."

Since April, the quarantine agency has been keeping close tabs on the African swine fever virus, closely monitoring banned animal products coming into the country at airports and harbors.

The African swine fever virus is the causative agent of African swine fever. The virus causes a haemorrhagic fever
with high mortality rates in pigs.

The virus can be spread by eating the product or through direct contact with secretions from the infected pig, and indirectly spread through feedboxes and other products that had contact with the infected animal.

Pigs infected with the virus tend to have a fever of up to 42 degrees Celsius and lose their appetites. Dermohemia, blue spots and miscarriage are some of the symptoms of infection. The incubation period ranges from four to 21 days.

The virus does not affect people, but once pigs are infected the fatality rate is 100 percent as there is no vaccine or treatment for infected animals.

"Banned products brought into the country could contain the African swine fever virus, so people who are scheduled to arrive from China are advised not to bring in agriculture goods," the ministry said. "If they accidently bring products they should voluntarily report the items to avoid getting fined."

Agriculture Minister Lee Gae-ho visited Incheon International Airport over the weekend to review if the airport was taking proper quarantine measures against the disease.

"The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency needs to enhance screening of agricultural products of travelers, and better manage leftover food from airlines and vessels," Lee said. "We urge travelers to refrain from traveling to disease-infected areas and bringing back banned products. Travelers should abide by government safety regulations."

The quarantine agency plans to strengthen screening measures by conducting exhaustive X-ray searches of passengers' baggage and deploying quarantine detection dogs on inbound flights from China.


Agriculture Minister Lee Gae-ho, center, inspects Incheon International Airport's border quarantine measures, Saturday, in the wake of the nation's detection of the African swine fever virus gene. / Yonhap

By Kim Hyun-bin

The deadly African swine fever has been discovered in Korea, putting the quarantine authorities on alert.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Sunday, a virus gene of the disease was found in two processed pork products that were brought in and voluntarily reported by two travelers who visited Shenyang, China, earlier this month.

The highly contagious pig disease was first reported Aug. 3 in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang.

Quarantine officials conducted a polymerase chain reaction test which detected the virus gene. They are currently checking whether the virus gene is alive. The final test results are expected to be released Monday.

"The travelers brought in banned products including one Korean sausage and one pack of dumplings and voluntarily reported to quarantine officials at the airport," the agriculture ministry said, adding the products were disposed.

"The products have been heated up, so there is little possibility the virus could be contagious."

Since April, the quarantine agency has been keeping close tabs on the African swine fever virus, closely monitoring banned animal products coming into the country at airports and harbors.

The African swine fever virus is the causative agent of African swine fever. The virus causes a haemorrhagic fever
with high mortality rates in pigs.

The virus can be spread by eating the product or through direct contact with secretions from the infected pig, and indirectly spread through feedboxes and other products that had contact with the infected animal.

Pigs infected with the virus tend to have a fever of up to 42 degrees Celsius and lose their appetites. Dermohemia, blue spots and miscarriage are some of the symptoms of infection. The incubation period ranges from four to 21 days.

The virus does not affect people, but once pigs are infected the fatality rate is 100 percent as there is no vaccine or treatment for infected animals.

"Banned products brought into the country could contain the African swine fever virus, so people who are scheduled to arrive from China are advised not to bring in agriculture goods," the ministry said. "If they accidently bring products they should voluntarily report the items to avoid getting fined."

Agriculture Minister Lee Gae-ho visited Incheon International Airport over the weekend to review if the airport was taking proper quarantine measures against the disease.

"The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency needs to enhance screening of agricultural products of travelers, and better manage leftover food from airlines and vessels," Lee said. "We urge travelers to refrain from traveling to disease-infected areas and bringing back banned products. Travelers should abide by government safety regulations."

The quarantine agency plans to strengthen screening measures by conducting exhaustive X-ray searches of passengers' baggage and deploying quarantine detection dogs on inbound flights from China.


Kim Hyun-bin hyunbin@koreatimes.co.kr


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