The Philippines is investigating a rise in pig deaths in some areas for the deadly African swine fever (ASF) virus, although no cases of the virus have been confirmed yet.
A crisis management team was organized after the Philippines Bureau of Animal Industry reported an increased mortality of pigs “raised by farmers in their backyards.” However, further tests were needed to confirm ASF, Philippines Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a press conference on Monday.
Last year, the Philippines put safeguards in place to protect its $5 billion hog industry. It has also banned pork and pork-based products from more than a dozen countries, including Vietnam, Laos and China, where the outbreak has spread throughout the mainland, as well as to Hong Kong, Reuters reported.
The crisis team is tasked to manage, contain and control the suspected animal disease or diseases.
Dar instructed the bureau to conduct further confirmatory laboratory tests, including sending blood samples to foreign laboratories, to determine the cause of the pigs’ deaths. He said it would be at least two weeks before the tests would be completed.
“We have further upgraded our monitoring and vigilance, including the imposition of stricter quarantine measures all over the country’s ports of entry, airports, and seaports,” Dar said.
For more information on the spread of ASF, a virus that only affects pigs and poses no food safety risk, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.
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