3rd case of hog cholera infection found in central Japan

A local government in central Japan said Wednesday a hog cholera infection was found at a public research institute -- the third such virus detection since the first outbreak in decades in Japan was reported earlier this year.
The latest case in the city of Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, follows the first swine fever infection since 1992 reported in September at a pig farm and another one detected in November at a public livestock center park, both in the city of Gifu.
The prefectural government began culling hogs at the research institute after two pigs tested positive for the virus with a high fatality rate. Hog cholera does not affect humans even if an infected animal is consumed.
The outbreak at public facilities could spark criticism against the local authority, which is at the forefront of measures to protect livestock.
At a meeting held Wednesday to respond to the outbreak, farm minister Takamori Yoshikawa said, "It is extremely serious that the infection was detected at the prefectural institute. It will have a huge impact." The minister said he may visit Gifu to deal with the outbreak.
Gifu Gov. Hajime Furuta apologized at the meeting, saying, "We are really sorry that the outbreak occurred at the prefectural facility, which is supposed to have well-prepared preventive measures."
According to the prefecture, facility staff found four pigs losing their appetite on Monday. In a test conducted by the central government, infections were confirmed in two of the pigs on Wednesday.
There have also been 63 detected cases of wild boars being infected in the prefecture in four municipalities neighboring Minokamo.
In the outbreak on Sept 9, the Gifu prefectural and city governments confirmed several pigs with weakening health but they were initially wrongly diagnosed as suffering from heat exhaustion. The livestock center park where an outbreak occurred on Nov. 16, was found to have violated hygienic management rules.
Before the virus was detected in September, hog cholera was last seen in the country in Kumamoto Prefecture in 1992 when five pigs were infected. Japan declared the virus eradicated in 2007.

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