African swine fever now in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture confirmed that African swine fever (ASF) is present in several areas in the country and has caused the deaths of pigs.

In a briefing on Monday, September 9, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said most of the tissue samples that they sent over to laboratories in the United Kingdom tested positive for ASF. 

However, tests have yet to confirm which strand of ASF has caused the hog deaths.

Dar said 7 areas in two provinces in Luzon have been affected by ASF. These are:

Dar said experts suspect that the virus was spread through food waste from restaurants and hotels, as well as products carried by overseas Filipinos from countries with ASF.

ASF cannot be transmitted to humans.

SAFE TO EAT. Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III eat pork to assure the public that it is safe to eat and African swine fever cases are contained. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

SAFE TO EAT. Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III eat pork to assure the public that it is safe to eat and African swine fever cases are contained.

Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Though the virus is already in the Philippines, Dar said pork in the market is safe to eat.

The agriculture chief even ate pork together with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and hog industry stakeholders on Monday morning.

Dar said the public should look for the stamp of the National Meat Inspection Service to ensure that the meat they are buying underwent thorough screening. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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