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Gov't eyes vaccinating wild boars to combat hog cholera as infections spread

GIFU -- The central government is considering vaccinating wild boars to prevent the spread of hog cholera infections in Japan after a sixth case was discovered at a breeding facility in central Japan on Dec. 25.

There are growing concerns that hog cholera infections will spread among pigs due to contact with infected wild boars. A study team on hog cholera infections consisting of officials from the central government and the Gifu Prefectural Government pointed to the possibility that the outbreak was triggered by the infection of a wild boar with the disease in the city of Gifu.

In response to the study result, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is considering a plan to place food containing vaccine around the habitats of wild boars to prevent the spread of the infection to pigs and other animals.

In the latest case on Dec. 25, the virus was detected in two breeding hogs at a farm in the city of Seki, Gifu Prefecture. A total of 601 people were mobilized, including some Self-Defense Forces members at the request of the prefectural government, for epidemic control work. The prefecture plans to cull 7,800 pigs reared at the farm. This marks the first time such a large number of people were dispatched to control the spread of hog cholera infection.

The workers had culled 1,151 pigs by 4 p.m. on Dec. 25 and began to bury them. The prefectural government aims to cull all the hogs within 90 hours after the infection was identified and bury the culled pigs within 270 hours. It expects to complete the operation by Jan. 3, 2019.

(Japanese original by Masakatsu Oka and Masahiro Kasai, Gifu Bureau)

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