TOKYO: The Japanese government on Friday said the vaccinations of pigs against hog cholera will be expanded to include the capital Tokyo and seven prefectures next to those already with confirmed cases of the virus as the battle to contain the epidemic continues, reported Xinhua news agency.
According to the farm ministry, the latest round of vaccinations may begin before the end of the year and cover Tokyo, as well as Kanagawa, Niigata, Kyoto and Nara, and continue to cover Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures in February.
In October, vaccinations against hog cholera began for the first time in 13 years after a farm in Gifu Prefecture was found to have confirmed cases of the virus a year earlier, in the first confirmed case the nation has seen in 26 years.
Mass culls of pigs have already taken place in around a dozen prefectures across Japan, with the vaccinations beginning in October now being expanded to cover the capital and seven other prefectures adjacent to the 12 prefectures with confirmed cases, as Japan continues to struggle to contain the epidemic.
The dozen prefectures that have already confirmed cases of hog cholera, also known as swine flu.
Vaccinations had initially been limited to the 12 affected prefectures owing to low stock, but following manufacturers being asked to increase the production of the vaccine, as many as 2.5 million pigs could be treated by the end of the year.