AFRICAN SWINE FEVER: A PRIMER
Agriculture|September - October 2020
AFRICAN SWINE FEVER (ASF), also called African Swine Flu, is a highly contagious viral disease that affects wild and domesticated pigs. It cannot be passed on to humans, but is nonetheless an illness that should be contained and eradicated because of its leathal effect on hogs.
YVETTE TAN

According to Dr. Deo Alcantara, Assistant Professor at UP College of Veterinary Medicine in the University of the Philippines Los Baños, the first incident of ASF was reported in 1921. It has spread through several continents, including Europe, Eastern Europe, and South America. It also spread through Spain, where it first appeared in the 1960 and was finally eradicated 1995 through the thorough and widespread implementation of preventative and curative measures. It is commonly believed that the virus entered China through Russia in 2018, and from there, it spread to the Philippines.

ASF IN THE PHILIPPINES

“The first incidents [in the Philippines] were reported in Rizal. That particular outbreak was associated with the very common swill feeding of their backyard farms and apparently, the swill they were feeding had contaminated meat,” Dr. Alcantara says. “The speculation [is that the contaminated meat] came directly from smuggled pork from China, which at this point was already highly infected and the virus was basically ravaging the whole swine industry of China already.”

He adds, “The speculation was apparently in Rizal, swill feeding was a very common practice. You were hearing that these backyard farms were buying their swill at a very cheap price-P115 per sack. At the end of the day, if you’re raising pigs, that’s a very [cheap] feed for your animals.”

Aware of the ASF outbreak in China, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had issued a ban on the importation of meat products from affected countries. However, tainted meat was still making its way to Philippine shores. It is speculated that the disease was first observed in Rizal in June 2019, but wasn’t officially reported until August, after its presence was properly confirmed.

ALARMING SPREAD

After the announcement, BAI instituted protocols to contain the disease but by this time, infections had already cropped up in Quezon City, also due to swill feeding.

“Controls were not that effective. A lot of the pigs that were being raised that were apparently infected were subsequently were not prevented from entering slaughterhouses in Bulacan, thus the start of the outbreak and incidences in Bulacan on top of the problems that we saw on the news that with dead pigs that they started throwing their dead carcasses in the estuaries and riverbanks. Those were very complicated situations as to why the situation blew up,” Dr. Alcantara says.

“And now, as it’s spreading throughout the country, we’re seeing its mostly a man-driven or infection is through carriers like persons. People are the ones actually causing the main spread of the disease now,” he adds.

The veterinarian explains that in the wild, ASF is spread through infected wild boars. In the Philippines´case, however, since it hasn’t surfaced in the wild pig population, the prevailing theory is that it reached local hogs through human activity.

“It’s a virus that could really survive outside of the environment,” Dr. Alcantara says.

“Swill feeding was probably the cause of the initial entry, but ultimately, the pigs were somehow able to go into the slaughterhouses in Bulacan and from there, it could have had direct… some people with their vehicles going to several farms and ultimately, it now spread via biyahero (middleman). I mean, your middlemen don’t normally practice biosecurity when they go in and out of your slaughterhouses. Hence, their vehicles and their personnel just go to the farm and select the animals they want to buy, among other modes of transmitting the disease to other farms.”

ASF SYMPTOMS

The public has largely swept ASf under the rug because it isn’t infectious to humans. This is dangerous, as the disease is highly communicable among swine, and whether humans can get a disease or not, eating tainted meat is unhealthy and unsanitary.

What are the symptoms of ASF? Dr. Alcantara enumerates:

“You see high fever as a sign that the pigs are in discomfort and have had a fever. The reddening, blotches of red discoloration on the animal on the ears, on the belly, on its extremities. Animals would have bloody diarrhea. You’ll also see respiratory signs sneezing, coughing, you’ll see death on affected animals,” he says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM AGRICULTUREView All

TWO AGRICULTURISTS THRIVE DURING THE PANDEMIC BY GROWING ORNAMENTAL AND FOOD CROPS AT HOME

THE WORLD is facing an extreme challenge brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food security has been compromised and the stability of the world’s economy has been threatened.

3 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

FAMILY REST HOUSE IS NOW AN AGRITOURISM SITE THAT OFFERS A TASTE OF REAL FILIPINO CHARM

ALMOST EVERY FILIPINO dreams of someday retiring into farming where they can relax in close proximity to nature, feel satisfied with growing plants, and even spend time with their family away from the usual bustle of everyday life.

4 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

PROLIFIC MILLENNIAL FARMER FINDS FURTHER SUCCESS IN INSPIRING VIEWERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

WE OFTEN HEAR that children of farmers don’t want to follow in their parents’ footsteps because there is no money in agriculture. In the case of Reden Mark F. Costales, not only does he manage the family farm, he’s also become an internet celebrity, instructing and encouraging Filipinos to go into agriculture via The Agrillenial, his YouTube channel whose videos are also available on Facebook.

10+ mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

OFW ESTABLISHED A GREENHOUSE IN SWEDEN TO SUSTAIN HER THROUGH LONG WINTERS

SWEDEN is a country in Europe with numerous coastal islands and inland lakes, along with mountains covered in both ice and snow. Due to the cold temperature brought about by being close to the North Pole, Sweden experiences long, and sometimes harsh, winters.

2 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

URBAN MICRO GARDEN: START YOUR GARDEN EVEN WITHOUT DIRECT SUN

IN GARDENING, “There are four important elements: sunlight, water, nutrients, and time. There is no such thing as green or black thumb,” this is what Liezl Rivera, an IT Project Manager and gardener from Taguig believes in. Same goes for space; gardening does not require a wide area to begin with. In her case, to maximize her balcony garden, she opted for the vertical technique.

2 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

MILLENNIAL TURNS BACKYARD GARDEN INTO SMALL FARM

DURING THE EARLY MONTHS of the COVID-19 pandemic, community quarantine was imposed in Luzon, and other areas in the Philippines to contain the spread of the virus. One concern during this period was of food security.

3 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

CANCER SURVIVOR CREDITS GARDENING WITH CONTRIBUTING TO RECOVERY

THE CRISIS that COVID-19 has brought to the world has made more individuals see the importance of nature and environment. But this is not a new trend. Many people have already realized the joys of tending plants and growing their own food even before the global health emergency has occurred.

3 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

CULTIVATING A FOOD FOREST: BOHOL PERMACULTURE FARM PRODUCES AWARD-WINNING TABLEA

NOT EVERYONE gets into farming voluntarily at first but there are many who come to realize that it is actually their calling.

10+ mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

COUPLE WITH NO AGRICULTURE BACKGROUND DEVELOPED A FARM FOR RETIREMENT

MANY PEOPLE INVEST in agriculture as part of their retirement plans. The same went for Jessie and Lea Dealas, both 60, who ventured into farming to secure their life after retirement.

7 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021

AFTER 30 YEARS, A FARMER NOW OWNS THREE GARDENS AND PROVIDES JOBS AMID CRISIS

THERE’S NOTHING MORE SATISFYING than seeing the fruit of your hard work, especially after long years of failing and learning.

9 mins read
Agriculture
January - February 2021
RELATED STORIES

CHINA'S GEELY, BAIDU ANNOUNCE ELECTRIC CAR VENTURES

Chinese automaker Geely says it will form an electric car venture with tech giant Baidu, adding to a flurry of corporate tie-ups in the industry to share soaring technology development costs.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #481

Where Is Jack Ma, China's E-commerce Pioneer?

China’s best-known entrepreneur, e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma, made his fortune by taking big risks.

5 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #480

Gain Of Function

How much risk of an accidental pandemic is too much?

10+ mins read
New York magazine
January 4-17, 2021

Yin Lu CHINESE HERITAGE AND SYMBOLISM

Yin Lu CHINESE HERITAGE AND SYMBOLISM

10 mins read
Art Market
Issue #54 December 2020

HUAWEI: A GENUINE COMPETITOR TO APPLE AND GOOGLE

Now considered the poster child of China’s technology sector, Huawei has defied the odds in recent years amidst growing pressure from political leaders in the US and Europe. But just how did the company climb to the top, and overtake Samsung to become the world’s biggest smartphone brand? Let’s pull back the curtain and reveal the secrets behind its success.

6 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

China's Rebel Historians

Defiant researchers chronicle a past that the Communist Party grows ever more intent on erasing.

10+ mins read
The Atlantic
January - February 2021

A Silicon Curtain Descends

TRUMP ESCALATED AMERICA’S WAR AGAINST HUAWEI AND CHINA. BIDEN SHOULD BEWARE BURGEONING TECHNONATIONALISM.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
February 2021

The Very Public Humbling of Jack Ma

He was set to raise $35 billion from Ant’s IPO. Then China showed him who’s boss

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 28 - January 04, 2021

CHINA'S ALIBABA, TENCENT UNIT FINED UNDER ANTI-MONOPOLY LAW

China’s market regulator on Monday said it fined Alibaba Group and a Tencent Holdings-backed company for failing to seek approval before proceeding with some acquisitions.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #477

5-STAR Brunch

Tips and tricks to make an Insta-worthy brunch at home.

2 mins read
RETREAT Magazine
Issue 20