THE Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday confirmed that African Swine Fever (ASF) has hit the Philippines but assured the public that quarantine and monitoring protocols were in place to protect the P260-billion hog industry.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar in a press conference in Quezon City said 14 of the 20 pig blood samples sent for a laboratory test in the United Kingdom were found positive for ASF.
Among the affected areas were Rodriguez and Antipolo in Rizal and Guiguinto in Bulacan, he said.
Dar said a total of 7,416 hogs have been depopulated, especially in areas within the 1-kilometer radius.
The agriculture chief said the DA was still waiting for another test, which would come out in a week to determine the severity of the virus.
ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of domestic and wild pigs of all ages. There are no effective preventive vaccines or cures, and the mortality rate is as high as 100 percent.
The ASF virus does not pose a health risk to humans, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.
Industry groups assured the public that pork in the market was safe for human consumption. The country has enough supply of local pork ahead of the Christmas season, they said.
The Philippines is the 9th country in Asia where the presence of the virus has been confirmed, after Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Other countries affected by the ASF include Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa and Zambia. EIREENE JAIREE GOMEZ