Philippines culls over 7400 pigs over African swine fever outbreak

Philippines culls over 7400 pigs over African swine fever outbreak”

More than 7,000 hogs have been culled in the affected areas, some of them buried alive, Dar said.

According to health officials, at least seven villages near Manila hit by an outbreak of African swine fever, 16 of 20 blood samples sent to a British lab were positive.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar in a press conference in Quezon City said 14 of the 20 pig blood samples sent for a laboratory test in the United Kingdom were found positive for ASF. He appealed to journalists to help the government prevent public alarm that could hurt local pig farming.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday announced that it was African Swine Fever (ASF) that killed scores of hogs in Bulacan and Rizal farms a month ago. There are new incident areas from initially three locations in Rizal and Bulacan provinces, he said.

Despite confirmation of the infections, Philippine authorities are in control of the problem and will further tighten quarantine checks, including in airports and seaports, and crack down on smuggling of imported meat to prevent large-scale outbreaks, officials said.

He also reiterated that ASF does not pose health risks to humans.

"If we know how virulent it is, then we have to elevate further our biosecurity measures", Dar said.

Philippine hog production totalled more than 2.3 million metric tons based on live weight in 2018, valued at 242 billion pesos (141 billion baht). These areas are now considered "cleared" of the disease, Dar said. "Everything that has to be done by government with the help of the private sector is being done".

"The public should not fear eating pork", Dar said, which was also echoed by Health Secretary Franciso T. Duque.

ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of domestic and wild pigs of all ages.

The Philippines is the 9th country in Asia where the presence of the virus has been confirmed, after Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

In this May 8, 2019, photo, pigs eat feed at a pig farm in Panggezhuang village in northern China's Hebei province.

Pigs infected with the ASF virus experience high fever, depression, loss of appetite, redness of ears, abdomen, and legs, vomiting, and diarrhea that may lead to death.

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