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Exclusive: Japan SDF choppers to scatter swine fever vaccine

  • October 17, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 6:54 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 17 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s agriculture ministry on Thursday decided to use Self-Defense Forces helicopters to scatter swine fever vaccine mixed in food for wild boars, Jiji Press learned Thursday.

The plan, slated to begin next month, is aimed at swiftly stemming the spread of swine fever among wild boars, which have acted as carriers of the virus.

Currently, swine fever vaccine-laced food is scattered by hand. However, the ministry has found it difficult to keep up with the rapid spread of the disease with the current method, informed sources said.

The agriculture ministry plans to test the food-scattering method in national forests for the time being.

The practice of dispersing vaccine-infused food from the air has been proven to be successful overseas. Germany managed to eradicate swine fever with this method.

Japan began feeding vaccine to wild boars in March, scattering about 300,000 pieces of vaccine-laced food by hand in nine prefectures, including Nagano and Shizuoka in central Japan.

The measure will newly cover other prefectures including Gunma, which saw its first case of wild boar infection this month.

The swine fever epidemic began when the disease was first confirmed at a pig farm in the city of Gifu, central Japan, in September last year. It was the first case of domestic swine fever infection at a farm in 26 years.

The disease has been confirmed in 10 prefectures, where preventive vaccinations on farm pigs are planned. In the prefectures, measures to prevent the spread of the disease are being taken, including capturing of wild boars and the establishment of guard fences around farms to block carriers of the virus from entering.

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