KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 – The Philippines is the latest country to record African swine fever (ASF) cases, as authorities culled over 7,000 pigs in two towns near Manila.
However, the Guardian reported Philippine agriculture minister William Dar as saying that the outbreak has not been classified as an epidemic.
“We have never been in an epidemic, just to highlight that. We are responding to the increased number of deaths of pigs,” Dar was quoted saying.
ASF, which is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs that almost always ends in death, was first recorded in China in August 2018, and has since spread to Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Mongolia and North Korea.
Authorities suspect the swine fever cases came from backyard hog raisers who feed pigs “swill”, leftover food scraps from hotels and restaurants; and could also be traced to smuggled frozen meat and returning overseas Filipino workers who brought back infected meat products.
The Philippines is the world’s eighth biggest pork producer by volume and its swine industry is estimated at US$5 billion; and pork accounts for 60 per cent of its citizens’ meat consumption.