Philippines confirms African swine fever outbreak in Cebu

March 8, 2023 - 5:27 PM
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Hogs in the farm
The Philippines, the world's 10th-largest pork consumer and seventh-biggest pork importer, declared its first outbreak of the virus on Sept. 9, after detecting swine deaths and culling more than 7,000 pigs in towns in Rizal. (The Freeman/File photo)

The Philippines‘ agriculture department on Wednesday confirmed an outbreak of African swine fever in central Cebu province, and has deployed response teams to detect the extent of infection.

The department’s Bureau of Animal Industry said 58 out of 149 blood samples from Carcar City in Cebu tested positive for the diseases, which is not harmful to humans but is highly contagious among pigs.

The latest outbreak adds to the list of active African swine fever cases in 12 of the Southeast Asian country’s more than 80 provinces, based on the agriculture department’s latest data.

“All swine raisers and stakeholders are encouraged to report any unusual pig mortalities and sickness to their respective agriculture/veterinary offices,” the bureau said in a statement.

African swine fever was first detected in the Philippines in 2019, prompting the culling of thousands of pigs since then and significantly reducing the domestic hog population.

Reduced domestic pork supply prompted the Philippines to ramp up meat importation as local prices shot up, adding pressure on inflation.

—Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty