Philippines Puts More Hog Farms under Surveillance

PHILIPPINES - A Philippine animal industry official said on Friday that thousands of backyard hog farms were under surveillance in an attempt to protect the livestock sector from the Ebola-Reston virus, which was found to linger in the country's swine population.
calendar icon 16 March 2009
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Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Davinio Catbagan said the surveillance work and testing will involve some 30,000 pigs in backyard piggeries in parts of the major Luzon island, home to at least three million pigs.

Last week, Philippine agriculture authorities culled 6,000 hogs in a farm in Bulacan province north of the national capital Metro Manila.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said that they decided to cull these pigs as test results done by various local and international agencies reveal that viral transmission continues to exist in this farm. Blood samples collected from humans and pigs in this farm tested positive for Ebola-Reston virus, the strain that has yet to cause serious diseases to the human.

The WHO (World Health Organization) classified the incident as "posing low public health risk" in its assessment earlier this year.

Mr Catbagan said Secretary Yap will ask the US government to ensure the supply of the test kits for the sampling of the 30,000 pigs covered by the surveillance work.

A joint mission comprised of Food and Agricultural Organization, the World Animal Health Organization (OIE), the WHO and their local counterparts came to the Philippines after the world's first case of Ebola-Reston on hogs was detected last October here.

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