Bicol reports first confirmed ASF cases

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File photo of pigs

CNN Philippines (February 21) – Lethal and highly contagious African swine fever has reached one more region in the Philippines -- Bicol, according to local authorities.

Hogs which died in Barangay Sto. Domingo Bombon, Camarines Sur tested positive for ASF on Thursday, Rodel Tornilla, Department of Agriculture-Bicol regional executive director said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The tested pigs were the first confirmed ASF cases in the region.

Tornilla then assured the public that local officials were on top of the situation “to manage, contain and control this disease.”

The Philippines had an outbreak of African swine fever last year, with its first case reported in July 2019.

Cases of African swine fever have since been confirmed in parts of Luzon including Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Cavite, Benguet and most recently in some areas in Mindanao. It was in Davao Occidental where ASF was first reported to have reached the southern Philippines.

The whole province has been placed under a state of calamity after 10,000 hogs were affected by the viral disease. This triggered local governments of Iloilo and Cebu to bar the entry of pork, boar semen, pork-related products and byproducts as well as other products which have been commingled with pork from Mindanao.

Misamis Oriental, Davao City, Mati City in Davao Oriental and Southern Leyte have also enforced bans on the entry of live pigs and pork-based products from ASF-affected areas.

The African swine fever does not pose health risks on humans, but they can carry the virus and spread the disease. The virus quickly spreads in an affected hog, which could lead to death after three to five days, threatening food supply.