For the first time in over 30 years, an outbreak of classical swine fever, also known as hog cholera, is resulting in thousands of pigs being culled on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
This highly contagious, fatal pig disease was confirmed after an Uruma City farmer reported pig deaths due to an unknown respiratory ailment, according to Stars and Stripes.
The disease has since been discovered at two additional farms nearby and one in Okinawa City, affecting approximately 5,000 pigs.
Japanese officials are investigating the origin of the outbreak, the article said, and are cautioning people to stay away from the farms to help prevent disease spread. Farmers within six miles of Uruma City have been ordered not to transport pigs or boars and to sterilize their farms, the prefecture said in Stars and Stripes.
Although there is no health risk to humans, it is highly transmissible among swine. There is no treatment for the disease.
Gov. Denny Tamaki requested support from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s 15th Brigade and 360 Japanese troops to kill and bury of hundreds of pigs, the article said.
As of 2018, Okinawa had 225,800 pigs in Okinawa, an area roughly the same size as metropolitan Tokyo, the article said.
After a long debate, Japan decided to allow the vaccination of pigs to prevent the spread of classical swine fever last September. The ministry had to weigh the decision to allow vaccination of pigs during a time when the country was aiming to expand pork exports.
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