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Philippines confirms first case of African swine fever

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 9, 2019
The Philippines confirmed on Monday the first case of African swine fever (ASF) in the country.
Philippine pig
Asia   Philippine pig
The country's acting Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a news conference that the ASF virus caused the deaths of a substantial number of hogs in the Philippines last month.

Topics: Philippines African swine fever

He said the blood samples of the infected hogs that were sent to a laboratory in Britain tested positive for ASF.

"Twenty blood samples have been sent but out of the 20 blood samples 14 are positive with ASF," Dar told a news conference.

The affected areas are in the towns in Rizal province and Bulacan province. All affected areas have now been cleared, he said.

He said the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) is still awaiting results of another test to determine how strong the virus is, adding that it is not clear yet how virulent these viruses are.

Dar said the second test will show the intensity of the virus affecting pigs, which will be out in a week.

"We continue to monitor, we continue to test using our capacities at the Bureau of Animal Industry and all the samples coming Ground Zero are all now negative," Dar said.

Dar said over 7,400 pigs have been culled so far, which included all affected hogs as well as those which have not been inflicted but are located within the 1-km radius of the affected facilities.

The DA is also verifying reports of possible ASF cases in other areas but refuses to disclose where these are.

Dar said the ASF disease may have been carried to local farms due to food scraps from hotels and restaurants fed to pigs, or through Filipinos who brought in pork products from countries and regions affected by the disease.

The outbreak in the two provinces prompted the DA to further upgrade its monitoring and vigilance including the imposition of stricter quarantine measures all over the country's ports of entry, airports and seaports.

Dar called on all hog raisers, commercial players and particularly those engaged in backyard operations "to strictly observe and practice good livestock practices including the needed biosecurity measures" in the wake of the outbreak.

Since last year, the Philippines has imposed the temporary ban on the importation, distribution, and sale of processed pork meat products from 20 countries and regions affected by the deadly ASF virus.

ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic fever in pigs caused by a virus and can be spread via fomites and uncooked pig products. The disease has up to 100 percent mortality rates.