African Swine Fever Strikes Southern Province in the Philippines

( Alison Fulton, Farm Journal )

On Sunday, the Philippine Department of Agriculture reported an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in a southern province in the Philippines, the world's 10th-largest pork consumer.

This is the first reported case of ASF in Davao Occidental province and elsewhere in Mindanao, the southern island of the Southeast Asian nation. Nearly 1,000 pigs have been culled in Davao Occidental.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar ordered regional department officials to restrict animal movement in that part of the islands, Reuters reported.

The Philippines announced its first ASF outbreak in September 2019 in backyard farms near the country's capital, Manila. The disease then spread to other parts of the main island of Luzon, including Manila, and caused some provinces to ban pork and pork-based products from disease-struck areas.

Dar believes pork smuggled from China could be the source of the outbreak in the Philippines, Reuters reports.

Despite the blood samples from pigs in Davao Occidental already testing positive for ASF, further tests will be administered for confirmation, the report said.

The provincial government has imposed a "complete, but temporary, lock down," prohibiting the transport of pigs and pork products from and into Davao Occidental, Reuters reports.

Biosecurity continues to be a challenge among backyard pig farmers who practice different production methods, including no regular vaccination, vitamin supplementation and deworming. Reuters reports that household butchering is common, especially with animals exhibiting weakness or disease.

ASF is a disease of pigs only and does not affect humans or the food supply. With no vaccine at this time, ASF is causing major losses in the global swine industry. 

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