Japan Culls 15,000 Pigs For Swine Fever

Members of JSDF undergo quarantine operation at hog farm after outbreak of swine fever was detected, in Toyota
Members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) undergo a quarantine operation at a hog farm after an outbreak of swine fever was detected, in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 6, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS)

Japan culled and buried 15,000 pigs to prevent the spread of the swine fever. The outbreak affected five prefectures that included Osaka since its first detection on Sept. 9. The government announced the preventive measure on Wednesday.

The last infection recorded in Japan prior to the first detection of the classical swine fever (CSF) last year was 26 years ago. The last reported hog cholera outbreak in the country was in 1992 and it was declared eradicated in 2007.

A farm in Gifu prefecture reported an outbreak of the disease in December and 610 pigs were culled from the farm. In January, the 1,600 self-defense force was sent to the farm to bury the affected pigs after the sixth case of the infection was reported.

According to reports of the government, pigs from Aichi that are supposed to be delivered in Osaka and three other prefectures were found infected with the disease. Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary, said during a news conference that in order to prevent the disease from spreading, the government will do its utmost by having the agriculture ministry and relevant local authorities cooperate for speedy and thorough implementation of quarantine measures.

It is believed that the disease originated from wild boars but local farmers call for the government for widespread vaccination. The CSF is a different virus from the deadly African swine fever that is spreading in China. Swine fever is fatal to pigs and hogs but it is not infectious for humans.

Japanese authorities admitted that they are struggling to contain the contagious virus. Farm Minister Takamori Yoshikawa said during a meeting at his ministry in Tokyo that they are facing an extremely serious situation. During the meeting, Takamori instructs officials to take thorough countermeasures in handling the outbreak. A special task force was set up in the Gifu Prefecture to heighten the containment effort of the ministry.

Secretary Yoshihide said that they must prevent the spread of the virus through tighter cooperation between the government and relevant local authorities. The Japanese government convened in a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to discuss the rapid responses with local officials from the prefectures. Suga also asked relevant parties to start an information campaign so that consumers will not be worried.

Pig farmers in the affected prefectures worry that they don't know how the disease is spreading and the only thing that they can do is to thoroughly manage hygiene.

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