SEOUL – The main newspaper of the North Korean regime acknowledged on Wednesday the existence of an outbreak of African swine fever in the country, the first official admission since Pyongyang reported several cases to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in May.
“Veterinary and emergency anti-epidemic projects have been actively implemented across the country to prevent the spread of African swine fever, which is a highly contagious viral disease,” an article published by Rodong Sinmun said.
This is the first mention of the disease by the North Korean media since informing the OIE about an outbreak in Chagang province on May 30.
Since then, South Korea, whose government is concerned about the possible occurrence of the disease on its territory, has offered to cooperate with the North to combat the spread of the dangerous virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs and has a very high mortality rate.
Pyongyang has not responded to the South’s offer of cooperation amid cooling inter-Korean ties after the result of the Hanoi summit in February.
Although it is not known if any fresh cases have been reported in North Korea, the fact that the Rodong article speaks of measures activated “across the country” has led to suspicions about the possibility of new cases.
The current outbreak, which affects east Asia, apparently began in China, where the first case was detected in August 2018 in the northeastern province of Liaoning.
The virus – which does not affect humans – has already been detected in each of the administrative divisions of China and in other countries including Vietnam and Cambodia, in addition to North Korea, and has already led to the culling of millions of pigs.