ARTICLE

Disaster of Classical Swine Fever in Japan

By Tomomi Yokoyama

In September 2018, Japan confirmed infection of classical swine fever, one of animal infectious diseases for the first time in 26 years. Classical swine fever is a contagious disease only for pig and boar, which develops high fever around 40 degrees and whose dead rate is extremely high. Besides, the infectivity is quite strong.
It does not infect to human and we can still eat infected meat however the virus cannot be destroyed without heat treatment with more than70 degrees and can survive for years even if it is frozen. Once a pig is confirmed as infected, the farm must kill all the rest not infected, and the number of pig killed is over 75,000 by now in Japan.

Japan has already developed the vaccines 50 years ago, and destroyed the infection at that time however the government is negative to re-start the vaccination this time.
Once they start the vaccination, it will be confirmed internationally as a prevalence country, and the export of pork will be limited. While TTP has officially started to run, the vaccination will prevent the export of pork which is one of the most important exporting items.

It is considered that wild boar spread the virus. As the countermeasures, the local governments are working on setting guard fences and traps, sterilization of roads, there are approximately 300 wild boars found near the farms in Gifu and Aichi prefectures on the other hand, and its number is still growing.

The ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has introduced “feeding” vaccine made in Germany. The vaccine is lapped by corn power and set in the wild and boar eats vaccine. They have set more than 30,000 vaccine by March 2019 and 60 to 70 % of them has been eaten. Its dispersal will continue for long-term in the mountains.

On another front, we are facing another threat of African swine fever. In China, this animal infectious disease has been epidemic for a while. The symptom is quite similar to classical swine fever and it does not infect to human but the disease is totally different and the dead rate is almost 100 %. Its infectivity is much stronger than classical swine fever. The worst problem is that there is no vaccine at all. The number of killing in China is reaching nearly a million.
Japan now strictly bans meats from abroad however the customs of Chubu International Airport confirmed a person vising Japan for sightseeing from China almost brought in sausages infected by African swine fever in January 2019.

Professor Yoshihiko Sakoda from Hokkaido University tells us the ministry is negative because they are strongly alarmed by African swine fever. The vaccination makes the farm feel secured and their consciousness towards hygiene control would decrease. The only countermeasure to African swine fever is thorough hygienic management.
This new threat while we cannot see the end of classical swine fever, can be discussed as a disaster for Japanese farms. The number of the infection officially reported is still increasing at this time writing this article, July 2019.

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