African Swine Fever (ASF) virus causes hemorrhagic fever with about a 100 percent fatality rate in domestic pigs. The disease is spread by wild pigs that come down to pig farms to look for food during winter when food in the wild is scarce, or by ticks. The first case of ASF in South Korea was found in September 2019. ASF only affects domestic pigs. Wild pigs can carry the disease and not be affected by it.
The government had organized troops and hunters to hunt down wild boars to prevent the pigs from moving southwards. Some 270,000 wild pigs were hunted in South Korea between October 2019 and October 2022, according to the environment ministry. The ministry saw that about 75 percent of wild pigs were hunted. ASF virus is extremely difficult to eradicate. Culled pigs are burnt to destroy the virus.
The National Institute of Wildlife Disease Control and Prevention said that the wildlife disease control body tested a bait-type vaccine stock candidate produced by the United States Department of Agriculture and found that two groups of pigs, one group injected with the vaccine stock and another group oral-fed, survived for up to 70 days. The pigs showed an antibody positivity rate of more than 80 percent.
Bait-type vaccines are effective against wild animals because it is hard for animal disease control body personnel to apply vaccines using a dart gun or other methods. Bait-type medicines can be deployed to places where wildlife dwells. Also, it is easier for farm operators to provide bait-type vaccines instead of injecting vaccines into each livestock. The wildlife disease control body said that this test proved that ASF vaccine stock candidate can be safe when orally applied to animals.
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