CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Bulacan and Pampanga have become ganglions of the dreaded African swine flu (ASF), amid reports that some 20,000 pigs have died of the ailment in each of the provinces.
In a report sent to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Department of Agriculture (DA) noted that the virus has been spreading fast in Pampanga and has even started to kill pigs in the commercial farms of Bulacan.
It said ASF has also recently affected backyard farms in Malabon and Caloocan Cities and that the first occurrence was reported in the third district of Manila.
The report noted “nine new outbreaks in Luzon affecting backyard and commercial pigs.”
ASF has already resulted in the death and culling of more than 62,000 hogs in Cavite, Quezon City, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Antipolo, and Rizal, the report said.
It also noted that of the affected areas, Bulacan and Pampanga were the hardest hit, recording more than 20,000 hog deaths each.
The DA said the new cases have pushed the total number of ASF outbreaks in the Philippines to 24, for a total of 555 “actual ASF cases” in the country. The number refers to sites, not to affected animals.
The DA also reported to the OIE that the source of these outbreaks has remained “unknown or inconclusive” but it also suspects that the cause of the spread are “illegal movement of animals, swill feeding, fomites (humans, vehicles, feed, etc.).”
ASF can’t infect humans and is not considered a food safety risk, but it can be spread indirectly through people’s clothing, footwear, vehicles, farm equipment, and livestock feed.
So far, measures applied by the Philippine government to control the spread of the virus include movement control inside the country; surveillance outside containment and/or protection zone; surveillance within containment and/or protection zone; screening; quarantine; official destruction of animal products; official disposal of carcasses, by-products and waste; stamping out; zoning; disinfection; ante and post-mortem inspections; and prohibiting vaccination.