South Korea said Thursday a wild boar found dead in the demilitarized zone tested positive for African swine fever. Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Ministry of Environment
Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A wild boar carcass found inside the Korean demilitarized zone tested positive for African swine fever, South Korea's environmental ministry said Thursday.
The wild boar was found dead on the South's side of the DMZ on Wednesday, near Yeonchun county in Gyeonggi Province, News 1 reported.
A detailed diagnosis of the animal, including blood sample analysis, indicated the animal was carrying the deadly virus among pigs.
South Korea has downplayed the link between the rising number of ASF cases in the country, and in North Korea, but it has also deployed to the border 1,173 troops and 166 decontamination trucks, with more reinforcements from 14 military units.
North Korea may not be taking the strongest measures against the spread of African swine fever. Pyongyang first reported the disease to the World Organization for Animal Health on May 30, but sources in the country have said infected pigs continue to be butchered and sold at North Korean markets.
It is unclear how the wild boar died on the South's side of the DMZ. A environmental ministry official told News 1 fences on the North's side are "not as robust" as the South's.
South Korea has confirmed 13 cases of African swine fever at pig farms. All cases have been reported in areas near or adjacent to the North Korean border.
Seoul officials said Thursday there is still insufficient evidence the ASF cases in border towns like Paju are the result of transmission from wild boar.
South Korea exercised caution on implicating the North in the epidemic the same day local lawmakers said they have new information regarding a North Korean boat that had gone astray in the South's waters in June.
Yonhap reported Thursday the only soldier on radar duty at the time of the incident was a private first class who had been on the job for 24 days. The soldier did not recognize a "suspicious target," the parliamentary report read.
The North Korean fishing boat sailed in the South's territorial waters for 57 hours before being apprehended.