While the attention of the swine world has been focused on the African swine fever virus spreading through parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, Japan continues to grapple with an outbreak of classical swine fever (CSF) that began in September 2018.
Recently, Japan notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that CSF had been confirmed on at least three farms on the island of Okinawa, which is the first time in more than 30 years that the virus has been found on that island. The report to OIE notes that 1,746 animals had been affected on Okinawa as of Jan. 8.
According to Stars & Stripes, U.S. officials at the Kadena Air Base agreed Jan. 12 to provide burial space for some of the hogs culled on Okinawa due to the outbreak, if needed.
“Kadena will be the alternative site if we cannot bury all the infected pigs,” Kazushi Kubota, a spokesman for the agricultural section of Okinawa prefecture, told Stars & Stripes.
The Okinawa prefectural government is first burying the culled animals on the affected farms to minimize the risk of spreading the disease, Kubota said.
Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the government of Japan announced at the end of December 2019 that it was expanding the area eligible to vaccinate healthy hogs against CSF from 12 to 20 prefectures. In a Global Agricultural Information Network report, FAS said as of Dec. 26, 2019, Japan had culled approximately 152,000 head of swine, representing about 1% of its annual hog production.
CSF is a highly contagious and economically significant viral disease of pigs, according to information from USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The range of clinical signs and its clinical similarity to other diseases can make CSF challenging to diagnose, APHIS said. While CSF causes clinical signs that appear similar to African swine fever, the two diseases are caused by unrelated viruses.
Although CSF was once widespread, many countries have eradicated this disease from domesticated swine. CSF was eradicated from the U.S. in 1978.