ASF spread continues to be a concern in the Philippines as more villages report active cases, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar said as of October 7, 71 villages throughout the country have active cases of ASF.
In August, the DA reported the number had fallen to just 22 villages, however a surge in cases in Ilocos Sur province in northern Philippines pushed it up again. The province now has 43 villages with active cases.
Mr Dar also confirmed that several areas in Batangas and Ilocos province, previously declared ASF-free, have reported new outbreaks. He did not identify these areas.
Nonetheless, he noted that the number of affected villages is much lower than the more than 3200 villages hit nationwide since the country reported its first case in August 2019.
Still, many industry stakeholders tell Asian Agribiz that the number of cases and affected areas continues to be underreported. Many producers, and even some local government officials, choose not to report suspected cases.
Earlier, Bureau of Animal Industry Director Reildrin Morales urged the public to report any suspected cases in their community, saying the government will then investigate and validate if these are indeed ASF cases.
Mr Dar also urged traders and retailers to stop selling infected pork, noting that these are the sources of some of the newly detected cases.
“There are people who keep on selling infected meat. That is why the virus also keeps on spreading,” he said, adding that the DA will continue working with local governments, producers, and traders to control and prevent illegal sales.