September 28, 2023
South Korea launches five-month campaign to combat animal diseases
South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has announced a five-month special disinfection period aimed at bolstering its efforts to combat animal diseases during the winter season, Yonhap reported.
This comprehensive campaign, scheduled to run from October 2023 to February 2024, entails intensified measures to safeguard against highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI), African swine fever (ASF), and other animal diseases.
The primary objectives of this initiative include the reinforcement of monitoring activities concerning wild animals and local farms. Additionally, the government intends to implement stringent disinfection and quarantine measures.
According to official statistics, the number of bird flu cases among migratory birds has surged by 14.7% compared to the previous year, with 3,364 confirmed cases reported in the first eight months of this year alone.
Given the expected arrival of more migratory birds in the coming months, the government plans to enhance AI virus testing in major habitats nationwide. Moreover, it will designate 24 high-risk regions and approximately 700 farms for intensified disinfection efforts.
To ensure early detection and containment of avian influenza outbreaks, private institutions will be mobilised to conduct thorough and rapid inspections.
Another pivotal aspect of this campaign focuses on preventing the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). South Korea reported its first FMD case in over four years in May, followed by at least ten additional cases at local farms.
To combat FMD, the government will extend its vaccination campaign and conduct antibody tests. Enhanced quarantine measures will be implemented at local farms and associated facilities.
In response to the ongoing spread of ASF, the ministry has pledged to maintain its rigorous operations to locate and address affected animals. This includes the tracking and containment of wild boars, accompanied by the installation of additional fences to hinder their migration.
In the most recent ASF case, authorities confirmed the infection of four swine from a single farm in the northern county of Hwacheon, where nearly 1,600 swine were raised. As a preventive measure, affected pigs are being culled, and disinfection protocols are being executed. Furthermore, a 48-hour standstill order has been issued for the adjacent Gangwon and Gyeonggi regions.