Swine fever spreading in Philippines

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease which kills pigs, but is not harmful to humans.
African swine fever is a highly contagious disease which kills pigs, but is not harmful to humans.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MANILA • The Philippines confirmed yesterday that African swine fever infections had spread in the south of the country, which accounts for nearly a third of the nation's 12.8 million pig herd.

Additional cases have also been identified in some northern provinces, said the Department of Agriculture.

The world's 10th-largest pork consumer and seventh-biggest pork importer reported its first African swine fever outbreaks in September last year in some backyard farms near its capital Manila on the northern island of Luzon.

But a week ago, the agricultural department said samples from pigs in the southern province of Davao Occidental had tested positive for the highly contagious disease, which kills pigs but is not harmful to humans.

The department said yesterday 407 pigs had been culled in two villages, with a swine population of 2,398, in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao.

The island had a swine herd of about 3.7 million, or 29 per cent of the country's total, as of Jan 1, government data showed.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar had consulted Mindanao government officials and hog industry leaders to effectively manage and contain the outbreak, said the department in a statement.

The Davao Occidental outbreak may have been triggered by food waste from pork products from Indonesia or food brought home by residents from disease-hit areas in Luzon, added the agricultural department.

More cases have recently been reported in some Luzon provinces, including Pangasinan, which was among the areas hit last year, and in Kalinga and Benguet provinces.

  • 407

    Number of pigs that have been culled in two villages in Davao City.

    29%

    Percentage of the country's swine herd on the island of Mindanao

Mr Dar has said pork smuggled from China, where millions of pigs have been culled because of the disease, could be behind the first outbreak in the Philippines.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2020, with the headline 'Swine fever spreading in Philippines'. Print Edition | Subscribe