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Swine Fever Outbreak Expected to Wipe Out a Quarter of All Pigs

Finding a vaccine is a 'complex challenge'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2019 2:27 AM CDT
Quarantine officials arrive to slaughter pigs at a farm with a confirmed case African swine fever in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.   (Lim Byung-shick/Yonhap via AP)
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(Newser) – The World Organization for Animal Health says around a quarter of the global pig population is expected to die from African swine fever. Dr. Mark Schipp, the organization's vice president, told reporters in Australia that the spread of the disease in the past year to countries including China, which has half the world's pig population, has inflamed a worldwide crisis.

Schipp says veterinary scientists worldwide are trying to find a vaccine for the disease, but that it's a "complex challenge" because of the nature of the virus, the AP reports. While the disease does not spread to humans, it is virtually 100% fatal once embedded in pig populations. (Last month, the disease spread from North Korea to South Korea even after Seoul deployed snipers and hunters to keep wild pigs out.)

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