By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the report of African swine fever (ASF) in the Philippines, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the African Swine Fever episodes in several areas in Bulacan and Rizal may be considered an outbreak but not an epidemic.

Image/Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Specifically, ASF was already contained in Barangay Pritil, Guiguinto, Bulacan; and in several barangays in Rodriguez, San Mateo, and Antipolo, Rizal — and not in the entire country.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) chief appeals to the media and general public not to ignite fears regarding ASF, as unverified and unvalidated reports could create an irreversible damage to the country’s P260-billion swine industry that provides and sustains the livelihood of millions of Filipino families.

“Around two-thirds or 65 percent of the industry is contributed by small backyard raisers,”

Dar said. Dar said that 7,416 pigs in the one-kilometer radius in ASF areas in Rizal and Bulacan have already been depopulated, following the 1-7-10 protocol of the Department of Agriculture to manage, contain and control the spread of the disease.

For instance, one ASF-infected slaughterhouse in Brgy. Gitnang Bayan 1, San Mateo, Rizal, has already been closed, cleaned, and disinfected.

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Meanwhile, continuous strict surveillance is being conducted in areas near ASF-infected barangays in Rizal and Bulacan.

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Dar assures the public that the incident will not affect the supply and prices of pork in the market, stressing that the ASF is confined and specific in certain areas only and not in the entire country.

The DA — in partnership with LGUs at all levels, the private sector, PNP and the military — has enhanced its monitoring activities and imposed stricter biosecurity and quarantine measures to contain the spread of ASF in other areas.

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