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Philippines Government Suspects African Swine Fever in the Country
USAgNet - 08/21/2019

The Department of Agriculture has ordered the culling of hogs in an unidentified area to contain what could be the entry of the African swine fever virus in the country.

In a press conference on Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar neither confirmed nor denied reports that the ASF virus has infected hogs being raised in Rizal, but noted that the agency received an incident report on Friday (August 16) "on an increased mortality of pigs raised by farmers in their backyards."

An industry source told the Inquirer that the infected area was Barangay San Isidro in Rizal, wherein agency officials have already commenced quarantine and security practices.

According to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) veterinarian Dr. Joy Lagayan - who is also a member of the ASF task force - the usual mortality rate for pigs is between 3 to 5 percent. In this case, however, the mortality rate in the area has spiked to as much as 20 percent.

Dar said he has already directed BAI to conduct further confirmatory laboratory tests, including sending blood samples to foreign laboratories to ascertain the cause of the animals' deaths.

The test results are expected in two to three weeks, although Dar said some confirmatory tests could take as much as three months.

Following this development, BAI has already put the area under a "quarantine zone," which means the automatic depopulation of all hogs within 1 kilometer from the virus' ground zero and the further surveillance of areas within 10 kilometers.

Agriculture Undersecretary Ariel Cayanan said the agency will be strictly monitoring the entry and exit of agricultural commodities in the area, while disinfection of the quarantine zone is currently underway.

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