Dr. Anna Ma. Teresa de Guzman made this clarification after a man alleged that four of his family members fell ill because of ASF after they ate pork adobo. “He is only seeking media attention,” she said.
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ASF does not affect humans — health officer
Eva Visperas, Ric Sapnu, Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - November 9, 2019 - 12:00am

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines — The provincial health officer here said there is no case of the African swine fever (ASF) virus transferring to humans, contrary to a recent claim by a local resident whose family members were hospitalized.

Dr. Anna Ma. Teresa de Guzman made this clarification after a man alleged that four of his family members fell ill because of ASF after they ate pork adobo. “He is only seeking media attention,” she said.

The affected family members were rushed to Pangasinan Provincial Hospital in San Carlos City on Oct. 24 after they ate the dish.

Their attending doctor investigated the matter and found out it was not because of ASF, De Guzman said yesterday.

The patients, all from Malasiqui town, are aged one, four, seven and 24 years, she added.

She said they ate sinigang na baboy on Oct. 23 and nothing unusual happened to them. The leftovers were cooked into adobo which they consumed the following day.

“Sinigang has tomatoes that can spoil fast… so, definitely there is contamination there. Also, there could be a problem in the food handling,” De Guzman explained.

“It has nothing to do with ASF,” she declared.

De Guzman added that what happened was possibly a case of food poisoning and not because of the ASF virus. She stressed that ASF virus is not transferred from pig to human. 

“It does not cause sickness to humans,” De Guzman reiterated.

“There is no known case worldwide of humans getting afflicted with ASF. It’s pig-to-pig,” ahe said, adding that the virus also dies after the pork is cooked at very high temperature like boiling.

For food safety, De Guzman said even if the pig has colds only, it is not advisable anymore for humans to consume its meat.

“For example, botcha (double dead meat). It is not really advisable for humans to consume the meat,” she said.

De Guzman also pointed out that such a case is not confined to pork only.

“It is for all meat products, like chickens or goats, it is not fit anymore for human consumption once it is sick of something,” she said.

“But to allude it at once that it is because of ASF, that’s not true. There’s no such scientific evidence that a human can fall ill because of ASF,” De Guzman explained.

In Cabanatuan City on Wednesday, Mayor Myca Vergara, along with acting city veterinarian Lorna Rivera, led meat vendors and the public in eating lechon and other pork products in a boodle fight at the public market, amid a drastic downtrend of pork sales due to the ASF scare.

Rowena Mina, chair of the Cabanatuan City Meat Vendors cooperative, said the public was apparently scared of the animal disease despite assurances that it would not affect humans.

Meanwhile, the city governments of Malabon and Caloocan have assured the public that they were able to contain the ASF virus by culling hundreds of pigs in affected barangays.

The Caloocan City government has culled 494 infected pigs in Barangays 168 and 179 since October, according to Caloocan City veterinarian Ted Rosales.

In Malabon, 18 pigs were culled to contain the virus, according to city health officer Dr. Roberto Romero.

ANNA MA. TERESA DE GUZMAN
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