Now it’s highly pathogenic bird flu

Central Mindanao Newswatch - local newspaper

Central Mindanao Newswatch – local newspaper

Authorities are still trying to determine how the African swine fever virus managed to jump from Luzon to Mindanao. A thousand pigs have been culled in Davao Occidental after confirmation of ASF contamination – the first outside Luzon since the virus was detected in Rizal province last year.

Authorities are still trying to determine how the African swine fever virus managed to jump from Luzon to Mindanao. A thousand pigs have been culled in Davao Occidental after confirmation of ASF contamination – the first outside Luzon since the virus was detected in Rizal province last year.

While ASF is not known to jump to humans, it has devastated the local hog industry, especially backyard swine raisers. With the virus reaching Mindanao, Cebu has further tightened measures to protect its local breeders as well as its thriving lechon and chicharon enterprises.

Even before authorities have established how ASF entered Davao Occidental, the national government will have to guard against the emergence of yet another pathogen. A statement over the weekend from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs declared that H5N1 – a “highly pathogenic subtype” of avian influenza – had killed 4,500 chickens in a farm in Shaoyang City, prompting the local government to cull nearly 18,000 chickens.

Shaoyang is in Hunan province, which is located next to Hubei, epicenter of the raging novel coronavirus outbreak.

Unlike ASF, bird flu can be transmitted to humans. Since 2003, the World Health Organization has recorded 455 human deaths in several countries due to H5N1 flu. The disease can also be as devastating to the poultry industry as ASF is to hog raisers. Highly pathogenic avian flu has killed millions of birds and domestic fowl around the world and caused the destruction of massive numbers of eggs.
Source: (The Philippine Star) – February 4, 2020 – 12:00am

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