TOKYO, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- A farm in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, is the latest to confirm the presence of swine flu that has been rampant in the region since September, local authorities said Tuesday.
Prefectural authorities in Gifu have enlisted the help of Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops to carry out the 1,600-pig cull and to bury the carcasses.
A new case of swine flu, the seventh in Japan, was revealed after tests were conducted at a farm in the city of Kakamigahara in Gifu Prefecture, officials said.
Around 150 pigs will also be culled, prefectural officials added, after pigs were shipped from the infected farm to a local market in Gifu city. In the city of Motosu, where 80 piglets had been purchased from the farm, around 900 pigs will be culled.
In December, GSDF troops helped officials in Gifu cull 8,000 pigs, following the sixth positive case of swine flu, which is also known as hog cholera, being detected in Seki, also in Gifu prefecture.
Unless the epidemic is eradicated, Japan will not be able to export pork products to the European Union under a new trade pact that will come into effect on Friday, Japan's Farm Minister Takamori Yoshikawa said Tuesday.
He said he has mandated new measures to more strictly control the epidemic.
In September, after confirming the outbreak of swine flu at a farm in Gifu Prefecture, authorities said that 546 hogs had been culled and buried initially and pork exports from across Japan had been halted to contain the spread of the virus.
The local government in Gifu had suggested the virus may have made its way onto the farm by way of wild boars or pigs that had contracted the disease.
Shipment of pigs from facilities within a 10-km radius of the infected farm were prohibited to prevent the virus from spreading and five disinfection zones were set up to clean vehicles that carry livestock in the area, local officials said, among other early measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
Gifu Gov. Hajime Furuta described the latest situation as extremely regrettable, however, as the latest case had occurred at a time when supposedly the region had enhanced its efforts to deal with the disease.
"It is very regrettable that the fresh case occurred when we were stepping up measures to contain the disease," Furuta was quoted as saying. Enditem