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SoKor braces for African swine fever outbreak after NoKor case

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2019

Courtesy: Image grabbed from Reuters video

South Korea readied on Friday (May 31) to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever in its pig herd after the disease was found in North Korea, the latest Asian country to be hit by the virus’ rapid spread.

The outbreak was confirmed at a farm in Jagang province in North Korea near the country’s border with China on May 25, South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Oh Soon-Min said in a news conference.

More than 20 hogs were culled and more than 70 pigs died from the virus, the ministry said.

“There was one case of African swine fever confirmed in North Korea. The farm is Northern Joint farm located in Usi County, Jagang province. The case was reported on 23 May and confirmed on 25 May,” said Oh.

“Our agricultural ministry thinks there is a possible spread to the South even if the North’s African swine fever case was reported in Jagang province which is near the border with China, but we’re taking this case seriously and planning to take extra disinfection measures here,” he added.

The highly contagious disease, which is fatal to pigs but does not affect humans, has spread rapidly across China since it was first detected in the country last August and has also been reported in Vietnam. There is no vaccine against it.

The South Korean government held a meeting on Friday to discuss ways to prevent the spread of the virus.

Measures will include stepping up disinfection near the border areas between the two Koreas, the ministry added. (REUTERS)

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Canned pork seized from OFW positive for African Swine Fever virus

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

Confiscated canned pork products that tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) virus | Courtesy : Secretary Manny Piñol’s Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol confirmed on Friday (June 12) that the canned pork products confiscated last March 25 at the Clark International Airport have tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.

Piñol said that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported the detection of the ASF virus from the confiscated canned pork products brought in by a returning overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Hong Kong.

The Agriculture Chief cited a report by Dr. Rachel Azul of BAI’s Virulogy Section saying “the viral DNA was isolated in pork luncheon meat and was tested using the ASF Taqman PCR Asssay at the ADDRL,” a procedure validated by laboratories in the United Kingdom and is widely used in countries in Asia for detection of ASF virus.

Azul clarified, however, that the detection of the ASF virus in the confiscated canned pork does not change the Philippine’s status as an “African Swine Fever-free” nation.

“So far, no African swine fever infections have been reported in pigs in the country,” she said as posted by Secretary Piñol.

“The seizure is a warning for the industry and an acknowledgment of the catastrophic threat on our doorsteps. If introduced, ASF would have a significant impact on pig health and production and contribute to enormous economic losses,” she added.

In a separate post, Secretary Piñol defended the Bureau of Quarantine for imposing strict screening procedures at airports as preventive measure against the the entry of the deadly pig virus.

“Kung nakalusot po ito at naipakain sa mga alagang baboy ang tira-tira, maaring kumalat ang sakit sa ating mga babuyan at magiging sanhi ng pagkasira ng ating hog industry,” he said.

(If leftovers of these products were fed to our livestock, the virus could have spread and harm our hog industry.)

“Doon po sa mga nagsasabing nag-o-over react lang kami at nagrereklamo sa mga mahigpit na quarantine protocols, ito po ang patunay na meron talaga tayong kinakaharap na panganib,” he added.

(To those who are accusing us of over reacting and were complaining against strict quarantine protocols, this is the proof that there is really danger ahead of us.)

READ: Ban on pork, pork-based products from ASF-infected countries still in effect – DA

Piñol asked all returning Filipinos to yield to quarantine officers at the airport.

“Huwag na po tayong maging pilosopo at matigas ang ulo. Sumunod po tayo sa mga quarantine officers sa mga airport,” he appealed.

(Let us not argue and don’t be hard-headed. Let us just follow the quarantine officers at the airport.)

“Bawal na po magpasok ng mga delata at processed pork products sa bansa. Huhulihin po kayo at pagmumultahin,” he concluded.

(It is prohibited to bring canned and processed pork products into the country. You will be arrested and fined.)

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DA beefs up security against entry of imported agri products

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Pork meat seized by the Bureau of Customs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for not having health clearances |Photo by BOC

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has heightened its border security against entry of imported agricultural products especially pork due to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in some parts of Asia and Europe.

The agency has commissioned 15 sniffing dos at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and about 100 quarantine officers deployed at all seaports and airports across the country.

Filipino travelers coming from ASF-affected countries are advised not to bring into the country processed pork or pork-based products as these will be confiscated.

“Sinabi namin sa Department of Transportation na kung maaari magkaroon sila ng advisory sa lahat ng airlines na bago sumakay ang mga pasahero , mawarningan na sila na bawal mag-hand carry ng karne papuntang Pilipinas,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said.

(We asked the Department of Transportation to issue an advisory to all airlines calling on them to warn passengers against bringing pork products in flight.)

“At before landing mag-a-advise na on air na bawal magdala ng karne sa Pilipinas (dahil) may fine na P200,000,” he added.

(Before landing as well, they should advise on air that it is prohibited to bring in pork meat into the Philippines because there is a fine of P200,000.)

Piñol said he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to provide more funds for the purchase of additional x-ray machines.

“We really have to watch out for this because it could have devastating effect on the economy,” he explained.

“In fact, tumaas ang inflation rate ng China because tumaas ang presyo ng baboy at nag-iimport na sila ngayon instead of exporting,” he added.

(In fact, China’s inflation rate shot up because of the increase in prices of pork and they have to import [pork] unlike before they were exporting.)

The Agriculture Secretary confirmed, however, that so far the country remains ASF free. – (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Police search Danube after boat capsizes, killing at least seven

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Rescue boats search the Danube River after a boat capsized | Courtesy: Screenshot from a Reuters video

At least seven people were killed and more than a dozen were missing after a pleasure boat carrying South Korean tourists capsized on the flooding Danube in the Hungarian capital on Wednesday (May 29), police and ambulance said.

The boat was reportedly hit by another tourist vessel near the Hungarian parliament building, then turned over on the river, which has been flooding, with very strong currents, while a rainstorm enveloped Budapest.

A massive rescue effort was underway with boats, divers, spotlights, and radar scanning along the river several kilometers (miles) downstream. The search continued into the early hours of Thursday (May 30).

Police said the boat had been carrying 33 South Korean tourists plus a crew of two. (REUTERS)

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