South Korea's agricultural ministry said Friday it plans to purchase all pigs from a town bordering North Korea that suffered two outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF), in line with efforts to contain further spread of the virus.
Under the decision, the ministry will purchase all pigs in Yeoncheon, where the country's 14th confirmed ASF was reported on Wednesday.
The pigs will be slaughtered and released in the market for consumption after being inspected. Pigs that are not purchased will be culled as well.
The ministry already rolled out the same program in two other towns -- Paju and Gimpo -- near the border, along with some areas in Yeoncheon.
As of Friday, quarantine officials slaughtered 9,107 pigs in and around affected farms in Yeoncheon, raising the total number of pigs culled since September 17 to more than 154,600 pigs.
South Korea recently found traces of the deadly animal virus in a dead wild boar in the Demilitarized Zone bordering North Korea.
Still, it remains uncertain whether the wild boars infected pigs here.
In May, North Korea reported its first outbreak of the disease at a farm near its border with China to the World Organization for Animal Health.
Since its outbreak in China in August last year, the disease has spread to neighboring countries, including Mongolia and Vietnam.
The animal disease does not affect humans but is deadly to pigs. There are currently no vaccines nor cures for the disease. (Yonhap)