African swine fever (ASF) is triggering nearly $20 million in losses a month in the Philippine hog industry, agricultural officials said on Friday.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s office issued a statement late on Thursday urging a joint effort to manage, contain and control the disease that is also wreaking havoc on hog industries in China and other Asian countries, Reuters reports.
The Philippines government reported the first ASF outbreak in September. Since then, more than 60,000 pigs have been culled in an effort to slow the spread of this highly contagious disease. This is less than 1% of the country’s herd estimated at 12.7 million pigs as of July, Reuters reports.
Though the disease is not harmful to people, it is deadly to pigs. With no vaccine available, this disease poses a major threat to the global protein industry. In the Philippines, the virus has struck some backyard farms in Quezon City in Metropolitan Manila and in several provinces on the main island of Luzon.
Meanwhile, processed pork items were recently confiscated from a local traveler and tested positive for the virus, the agriculture department said in a statement. The tainted products include hotdogs, sausages and cured meat.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar pleaded with small backyard hog producers not to sell their ASF-infected pigs to trader and for traders not to sell infected hogs to avoid spreading the ASF virus to other areas.
Some provinces in central and southern Philippines have banned pork and pork-based products from the disease-struck regions.
For more information on the spread of ASF, read porkbusiness.com/ASF.
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