Philippines: Still-unknown disease prompts culling of pigs
August 19, 2019 08:22 AM
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine agriculture chief said Monday that an unspecified number of pigs has died or been culled in backyard farms in recent weeks and a crisis team has been established to try to contain the still-unidentified disease causing the swine deaths.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said the Bureau of Animal Industry has been carrying out laboratory tests on blood samples of affected pigs and arranging similar tests in foreign labs to identify the disease after an increase in pig deaths. Dar couldn''t immediately say if the cause was the contagious African swine fever that has led to the deaths and culling of millions of pigs in Asia.
Dar refused to identify the affected area or province and disclose the number of pig deaths while containment efforts were underway. The results of the lab tests and other details would eventually be disclosed to the public, he said.<
"We assure the animal industry stakeholders and the public that we are on top of the situation and we are doing everything possible," he said.
Nearly 5 million pigs have died or been culled in Asia due to the spread of the African swine fever, a contagious viral disease that afflicts domestic and wild pigs and was detected a year ago in the Asian region, according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, or FAO.
African swine fever is harmless to people but fatal and highly contagious for pigs, with no known cure, causing severe losses in the swine industry. The disease has been reported in China, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos and North Korea.
The FAO says latest data indicates current losses represent more than 10 percent of the total swine population in each of hard-hit China, Vietnam and Mongolia.
Some experts have said the spread of the swine fever is the largest known animal disease outbreak in history.
Updated: August 19, 2019 08:22 AM
Created: August 19, 2019 08:05 AM
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