Sept. 25 (UPI) -- South Korea reported three new suspected cases of African swine fever on Wednesday, adding to concerns over the potential spread of the deadly animal disease despite massive disinfection efforts.
Two suspected cases were reported at farms on Ganghwa Island in Incheon, around 37 miles west of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The ministry confirmed the fifth ASF case in the same location a day earlier.
The other suspected case came from Yeoncheon, near the border with North Korea, where another ASF case was confirmed last week.
Should the suspected cases all test positive for the highly contagious disease, the country will have a total of eight confirmed ASF cases in less than 10 days.
South Korea reported its first-ever confirmed ASF case on Sept. 17, also near the heavily fortified border with North Korea. So far, all five cases came from northern areas of Gyeonggi Province and Incheon.
Although ASF does not affect people, it is fatal for pigs, with no cure currently available.
The agriculture ministry has been going all-out to stem the further spread of the highly contagious virus with quarantine operations in place for all parts of Gyeonggi Province and Incheon, along with the neighboring Gangwon Province.
On Tuesday, the quarantine authorities initiated a 48-hour movement ban on all pig farms and feed factories across the country.
The ministry said it has completed culling some 20,000 pigs so far, with more than 30,000 pigs set to be slaughtered.
Authorities have been slaughtering pigs within a 3-km radius of the farms infected with the fever, larger than the required 500-meter radius.
Quarantine officials are mobilizing 77 vehicles to spray disinfectant while installing around 300 checkpoint posts in potentially affected areas, the ministry added.
The ASF cases came roughly four months after North Korea reported its first confirmed case of the disease -- at a farm near its border with China -- to the World Organization for Animal Health.
The disease is mainly spread by contaminated feed or through direct contact with people and wild animals with the virus. South Korea is yet to determine what caused the outbreak in the country.