Philippines confirms African swine fever, culls 7,000 pigs
Lab tests have confirmed that African swine fever caused the deaths of pig herds in at least seven villages near Manila. A multi-agency body will be set up to ensure the highly-contagious disease does not spread further, Philippine officials said on Monday.
“What hit us we don’t know among the 35 strains,” Dar said, referring to the different strains of the virus with varying degrees of lethality. He appealed to journalists to help the government prevent public alarm that could hurt local pig farming.
More than 7,400 pigs have been culled on farms in villages in Rizal and Bulacan provinces that were feared to have been hit by the viral infection in recent months.
The Department of Agriculture is verifying reports of infections in other areas, Dar said, but he refused to identify the areas.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, African swine fever is not a risk to human health.
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. They assured that pork supply and prices will remain normal.
“The hog industry is one of the more critical industries in the country. Let us not allow it to be affected in a big way,” Dar said. “Everything that has to be done by government with the help of the private sector is being done.”
The Philippines is the latest country in Asia to report the disease, with hard-hit China and Vietnam culling millions of pigs and scrambling to find a vaccine for an infection that has ravaged their swine industries.
China is home to half of the world’s pig population. In Vietnam alone, the virus has caused the deaths of more than four million pigs.
African swine fever is fatal and highly contagious for pigs, with no known cure.
It can be transmitted through contaminated feeds, and even through non-living objects such as shoes, clothes and knives due to the virus’ high resistance.
The disease has been reported in China, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos and North Korea.
Some experts have said the current spread of swine fever is the largest known animal disease outbreak in history.
You may be interested
Video: Segun Arinze recounts how he almost drownedWebby - July 15, 2020
<!-- Segun Arinze --> Segun Arinze By Jennifer Okundia Nigerian movie star Segun Arinze took to his Instagram page to…
Chika Ike launches new creative studio (video)Webby - July 15, 2020
<!-- Chika Ike --> Chika Ike By Jennifer Okundia It’s a dream come true for Nollywood actress Chika Ike as…
Gokada CEO Fahim Saleh brutally murdered in New York, dismembered with electric sawWebby - July 15, 2020
<!-- Fahim Saleh --> Fahim Saleh By Michael Adesina Fahim Saleh, the CEO of Lagos-based Gokada, was found dead in…