Growing Concerns as African Swine Fever Continues to Spread in the Philippines

Reports of African swine fever (ASF) continue to rise in the Philippines, with regional animal health officials confirming a new infection in Calapan City. This latest outbreak in the province of Oriental Mindoro has prompted urgent calls from local pork industry officials for the 103,000 hog producers to implement strict biosecurity measures to contain the virus’s deadly spread.

In response to the escalating situation, the Philippine Department of Agriculture is seeking assistance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to certify ASF vaccines from Vietnam. These vaccines are crucial in safeguarding around 600,000 pigs aged between 6 to 10 weeks. However, with an estimated 1 million vaccine doses expected only by 2024 and for the subsequent three years, the challenge remains significant, given the current hog population in the Philippines, which stands at 6 million.

As of June 1, approximately 15 provinces in the Philippines have reported active cases of ASF, underscoring the severity of the situation. Local officials are advising hog producers to consider signing up for policies with the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. This would provide coverage for potential losses resulting from ASF, reinforcing the need for enhanced biosecurity measures.

While ASF outbreaks have been reported in various regions globally, including Africa, Europe, and Asia, efforts in North America, led by Canadian and U.S. officials, are focused on preventing the spread of ASF. Fortunately, as of now, no cases of ASF have been reported in the United States. However, it’s essential to remain vigilant, considering the significant economic and livestock losses experienced by Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 2021 due to ASF, costing millions of dollars and resulting in the loss of millions of pigs.