By official accounts, the pig contagion wreaking havoc across Eastern Asia has virtually skipped over North Korea, with a single outbreak reported there in May. But wayward feral pigs have stoked concern that Kim Jong Un's reclusive state is hiding an African swine fever disaster.
Three wild boars were found dead in border areas separating the two countries earlier this month before being tested positive for the viral hemorrhagic disease, officials in South Korea said. The finding reflects the freedom with which animals roam the 4-kilometer-wide (2.5 mile-wide) buffer zone that divides the nations and creates an involuntary park and refuge for fauna.
It also hints at a spillover of the deadly virus from North Korea, where unofficial reports indicate the disease is spreading out of control. South Korea has deployed helicopters to disinfect parts of the 250-kilometer-long border-barrier, near which more than a dozen outbreaks have occurred on farms since the virus was first reported there a month ago.