S. Korea steps up quarantine against African swine fever virus

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-08-27 18:22 Updated : 2018-08-27 18:22
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[Aju News DB]

SEOUL -- South Korea called for strengthened quarantine at air and sea ports Monday after the highly contagious virus of African swine fever was confirmed to have been detected in processed foods using pig meat and blood, which were brought by a tourist from China earlier this month.

In an initial investigation, quarantine officials said over the weekend that they detected the virus from dumplings and Sundae (Korean blood sausage) brought on August 3 when a tourist arrived on a flight from the Chinese city of Shenyang.

On Monday at a vice minister-level meeting, agriculture ministry officials promised to conduct a cell culture test which takes at least three weeks but ruled out the possibility of the virus spreading as the foods in question had been cooked with heat.

"African swine fever is spreading in China. Because China has a lot of human and material exchanges with South Korea, there is a possible inflow of the virus into our country," Hong Nam-ki, who heads the prime minister's office for government policy coordination, said, urging authorities to step up quarantine at airports and sea terminals.

The virus does not affect people, but virulent strains are fatal to pigs. A breakout could severely damage South Korea's livestock industry because no cure or vaccine has been developed so far.