Hogs tested for disease amid suspected African Swine Fever in PH

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Hogs tested for disease amid suspected African Swine Fever in PH

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) — The Department of Agriculture has sought the help of foreign laboratories to confirm the cause of the increase in mortality rates of pigs in the country, Secretary William Dar said on Monday.

This comes amid suspected cases of African Swine Fever in the country, which led to the issuance of a new travel advisory from Taiwan that it will impose tighter inspection of carry-on baggage from those traveling from the Philippines.

Dar said the Agriculture department has received reports from the Bureau of Animal Industry of an increased rate of deaths among pigs raised by farmers in their backyards. An increase of at least two percent was recorded in the affected areas, the reports said.

He refused to disclose the result of tests by local laboratories so as not to create unnecessary panic. He only said there was a "suspected animal disease" in the country. He also did not want to say where the case or cases were recorded.

"We directed BAI to conduct further confirmatory laboratory tests, including sending blood samples to foreign laboratories to ascertain the cause of the animals' death," Dar said.

He said all the pigs in the affected area or areas have been culled as of August 18 to prevent the spread of the disease. The area where the pigs were buried was also disinfected.

The Agriculture chief said the agency was on top of the situation, adding he was assured by the hog industry that there is enough supply in the country. He also issued an appeal to the sellers and raisers.

"We are requesting sa mga nagbebenta ng pork na huwag samantalahin ang sitwasyon [We are requesting sellers not to take advantage of the situation]," Dar said.

The African Swine Fever, which has no vaccine or cure, was first detected in Asia in 2018 in an area in Siberia, according to the United Nations. In December 2018, the Agriculture department said pork products from affected countries will be confiscated at the points of entry.

The Philippines has banned the entry of pork and pork-based products from ASF-affected countries Japan, China, Hungary, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa and Zambia.