DA asks hog raisers to report unusual pig deaths as China reports new strain with pandemic potential

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 30) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has urged hog raisers to report unsual hog deaths as China reports new flu strain similar to the 2009 swine flu.

“The Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal industry (BAI) reminds the general public to report any unusual pig mortalities in your farm,” DA Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.

He said raisers can reach out to municipal veterinarians if hogs exhibit any flu-like symptoms.

Experts have reported a new strain of swine flu in China they called G4. This is similar to H1N1 swine flu, which caused the 2009 pandemic.

Reports said there are swine industry workers in China who got infected by the new strain. Experts have also expressed their concern since this can mutate further and potentially cause human-to-human transmission, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DA also reminded the public, especially those into animal farming, to report to the Department of Health unusual sickness among workers.

The agriculture department also assured that the country is still free from this new strain since it does not import pork and pork products from China.

It added that a meeting with Philippine Inter-Agency Committee on Zoonoses will be held this week to come up with a framework in managing emerging diseases that affect animals and humans.

The country is still fighting African Swine Fever, a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs, which started mid-2019.

The BAI said the community quarantine has helped in containing the spread of the disease as cases declined from 60 cases to 20 cases per million pigs.

The DA has pointed out that hog raisers who are not reporting possible cases, and those who are still selling infected pigs, are some of the causes why the virus spreads.