North Korea outbreak: Panic as new disease spreads through hermit state – markets impacted

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Last year, North Korean authorities told the World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that African Swine Fever had hit Buksang Cooperative Farm in the Chagang Province.

This outbreak resulted in the death of 77 out of the 99 pigs.

The rest of the animals were culled.

Now sources have claimed the disease has returned making it virtually impossible to buy piglets in live markets.

One source said: “You can’t buy a pig even at a premium in the markets nowadays.

“The swine flu has made it so there are fewer sows to breed piglets.”

The disease kills almost all of a farm’s pigs and often leads to miscarriages among sows.

While not reporting any new outbreaks of the disease, a recent OIE report stated the outbreak of ASF in North Korea is “continuing”.

Also, the secretive state has been warning farms to follow the disease prevention rules, suggesting the virus continues to spread across the country.

According to an investigation by Daily NK, pigs were found to be suddenly dying at collective farms in North Hamgyong and South Hwanghae provinces back in May.

It is believed Kim Jong-un’s government sent veterinary quarantine official and investigators to both areas.

According to reports, a 10kilogram piglet can be sold in the live markets for around KPW 300,000.

This figure is triple the price compared to April last year but sources say buying a pig has grown increasingly difficult sellers can “name their price”.

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While the number of sows continues to decline due to the outbreak, the price of pork is likely to increase, the source claim.

They said: “Pork prices have actually been decreasing a bit since families can’t afford the meat because their incomes are falling due to COVID-19 quarantine measures.

“But as the number of sows continue to decline due to swine flue, there is a chance that poor prices could spike.”

This continuing outbreak has also affected wild boars and domesticated pigs in South Korea towns which border the North.

Denying and not reporting an outbreak of swine flu comes as North Korea continues to claim they have no cases of the coronavirus pandemic.

In July, Kim Jong-un ordered the city of Kaesong to be lockdown down after someone was found to have symptoms.

They later told the World Health Organisation the test results were indeterminate.

The Communist nation quickly locked down its border when the outbreak was first reported at the start of the year.

It also imposed strict controls on goods entering the country.

Last month, the Supreme leader also issued a shoot-to-kill order on anyone approaching the border with China.

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