File photo shows hogs in a local piggery.
AFP, File
Death of some pigs linked to first case of African swine fever in Philippines
( - September 9, 2019 - 11:04am

MANILA, Philippines — Some of the hogs that died in several areas in the country tested positive for African Swine Fever as the first case recorded in the Philippines.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar announced on Monday that 14 out of the 20 blood samples from disease-infected pigs in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan tested positive for African swine fever. The blood samples were sent to the United Kingdom.

The agency is still waiting for the results of another test which will determine how severe the virus is.

“The [polymerase chain reaction] test, while it is conclusive it is positive with African swine fever, how virulent that virus, we have yet to understand,” Dar said in a press briefing.

Dar said 7,416 pigs have been depopulated so far within the 1-kilometer radius of the affected areas.

He added the department is verifying reports of possible African Swine Fever cases in other areas. But the Agriculture chief refused to identify where these are.

Before the announcement, Dar, along with Health Secretary Francisco Duque and members of the hog industry had a boodle fight for breakfast to show that pork is safe to consume.

The viral disease is known only to affect pigs and not humans, that it is not likely to cause alarm among health officials.

While the disease is usually fatal in pigs but not harmful to humans, the virus can cause major economic loss to swine industries. The Philippine hog industry is worth roughly P260 billion. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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