Philippines confirms first swine fever cases

Philippines confirms first swine fever cases

Since last month, Taiwan had been taking precautionary measures against the entry of African swine fever from the Philippines, based on what the center said was "reliable information" it has obtained pertaining to outbreaks in Bulacan and Rizal provinces.

Dar told reporters in a press conference that 14 out of the 20 blood samples from the infected hogs sent to the United Kingdom for confirmatory tests came up positive for ASF.

Philippine officials say lab tests have confirmed African swine fever has caused the deaths of pig herds in at least seven villages near Manila and adds a multi-agency body will be set up to ensure the highly contagious disease would not spread further.

The Philippines confirmed on Monday the first case of African swine fever (ASF) in the country.

Among the affected areas were Rodriguez and Antipolo in Rizal and Guiguinto in Bulacan, he said.

The Department of Agriculture is verifying reports of infections in other areas, Dar said, but he refused to identify the areas.

Authorities are now waiting for a separate test, which will determine the strain and virulence of ASF.

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There is no antidote or vaccine and the only known method to prevent the disease from spreading is a mass cull of affected livestock.

The Philippines has so far banned pork and pork-based products from more than a dozen countries, including Vietnam, Laos and China.

"We also activated and mobilized respective Quick Response Teams (QRTs) at DA Regional Field Offices to implement complementary measures", Dar said. All affected areas have now been cleared, he said.

The Philippines is the latest country in Asia to report the disease, the most hard-hitting countries remain China and Vietnam.

"We want to reiterate to the public that ASF is not a threat to human health", the health chief concluded.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health, ASF is a severe viral disease that affects both domestic and wild pigs and could cause their deaths.

Since previous year, the Philippines has imposed the temporary ban on the importation, distribution, and sale of processed pork meat products from 20 countries and regions affected by the deadly ASF virus.

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