By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up report, Philippines agriculture officials announced Monday that samples from pigs in small backyard farms in Rizal province near Manila tested positive for African Swine fever (ASF).


Sample were sent to the World Reference Laboratory in Pirbright, England, which also happens to be the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Reference Laboratory for African Swine Fever.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said during a press conference, “Of the 20 blood samples, 14 are positive with African swine fever”.

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We sent the samples to England to ascertain what really caused the pig mortalities. To date, we believe we have successfully managed the issue, as a misstep could erode the gains and competitiveness of the country’s P260-billion-peso swine industry that provides and sustains the livelihood of millions of Filipino families, as roughly two-thirds or 65 percent of the industry is contributed by small backyard raisers.

We commend our Crisis Management Task Force (CMTF) on Swine for overseeing the vigorous implementation of appropriate measures – notably the “1-7-10 Protocol” – to effectively manage, contain and control the situation, as well provide timely and accurate information for all stakeholders and the general public.

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We also activated and mobilized respective Quick Response Teams (QRTs) at DA Regional Field Offices to implemented complementary measures.

The Department of Health (DOH) today declared that ASF is not a risk to human health after the Department of Agriculture confirmed that 14 out of 20 pig samples tested positive for ASF.

“We want to allay the fears of the public by saying that, as long as pork is bought from reliable sources and it is cooked thoroughly, pork is safe to eat,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III emphasized.

According to the OIE, ASF is a severe and highly contagious viral disease among domestic and wild pigs.

It is commonly introduced into a herd after the feeding on uncooked or undercooked contaminated pork products which are then ingested by the pig. The virus is then spread between pigs by direct contact with an infected pig, or ingestion of contaminated material (such as food waste, feed, or garbage). It can also be transmitted by contaminated fomites or ticks or blood-sucking insects if present.

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Pigs infected with the ASF virus experience high fever, depression, loss of appetite, redness of ears, abdomen, and legs, vomiting, and diarrhea that may lead to death.

At present, there is no vaccine or treatment for ASF.

Because ASF can spread easily, hog raisers are advised not to feed raw or undercooked pork products (swill, garbage, or waste) to pigs. Also, to monitor the animals daily for any sign of illness, to isolate those found to be sick, and to contact the veterinarian immediately for medical intervention.

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Preventive measures for pig handlers may include handwashing when they get home from a farm or market; and cleaning of shoes, or tires of vehicles used in the pig farm.

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