Japan is to vaccinate thousands of pigs to tackle a Classical swine fever (CSF) in many parts of the country that has seen more than 130,000 pigs culled in a year.
The farm ministry, which had been cautious about vaccinations due to their impact on pork exports, switched the policy as the epidemic that started in September 2018 continues unabated.
Mainichi Japan reported that the farm ministry plans to request pharmaceutical companies to boost production of CSF vaccines.
“We are aware that (Japan) now faces a significant phase (in coping with the epidemic) and will endeavour to promptly address the issue, including how to respond to the possible impact on exports,” chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
Currently, Japan has enough stock of vaccines that protect against the infectious disease to inoculate about one million pigs, but the government believes increased output is necessary because the eradication process may take a long time and areas requiring vaccinations may also expand.
“We’d like to secure as many (vaccines) as possible,”Japanese Farm Minister Taku Eto said.
The disease, also known as swine fever, affects only pigs and wild boars and has a high fatality rate. It does not affect humans, even if meat from an infected animal is consumed.
The current outbreak of CSF differs from that of African swine fever, which has a higher fatality rate and has been reported in nearly 60 countries and regions across Africa, Europe and Asia since 2005.