MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) sent tissue samples of pigs to laboratories abroad for testing, as a substantial number of hogs have died in recent days.
In a press briefing on Monday, August 19, Agriculture Secretary William Dar confirmed that there have been reports of hog mortality in several areas, but refused to state the cause of death. He also declined to identify the areas affected.
The news comes as international outlets have reported that some areas in Luzon have suspected cases of African swine fever (ASF), a deadly viral disease which affects only hogs and cannot be transmitted to humans.
"We will not mention where because the containment and control of the suspected animal disease is underway and we don't want people to go there," Dar said.
He added that the agency is testing the tissue samples for all types of diseases. Testing usually takes some 3 weeks up to 3 months.
The agriculture chief assured the public that the government has identified the suspected areas, buried the pigs, and disinfected their burying grounds.
Pigs within a 1-kilometer radius from the affected area will be selectively slaughtered, while a 7-kilometer radius is considered a surveillance area.
The DA has banned the importation of pork from at least 19 countries because of ASF cases and fears of contaminated meat.
Dar appealed to the private sector not to manipulate the prices of pork in the local market.
"Please do not take advantage of the situation," the agriculture chief said. – Rappler.com