REPORT any unusual pig mortalities to your farm veterinarians or to the nearest government veterinary/ agricultural office and consult a physician when experiencing flu-like symptoms.
This appeal was made by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to swine farm owners and the public in amid the report that researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic.
The BAI however assured that the Philippines does not import swine or pork products from China.
The bureau added that reports on flu-like symptoms have been increasing this rainy season and this could affect agricultural workers and our swine production.
News regarding the new type of swine flu has been circulating online causing farm workers and the public to be worried.
As published in several online journals, researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic.
According to the study, the virus named G4 descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009. The study that was conducted in China from 2011 to 2018 revealed that 10.4% of swine workers had already been exposed and as many as 4.4% of the general population also appeared to have antibodies.
This shows that the virus can be passed from animals to humans, but human to human transmission has not been established yet.
The head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University in England said: “We are constantly at risk of a new emergence of zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.”
The bureau, on the other hamd, strongly recommends that swine farm owners consult their licensed veterinarians to review farm biosafety and biosecurity programs.
Meanwhile, the BAI will host this week a technical meeting with the Philippine Inter-agency Committee on Zoonoses to prepare the framework for managing emerging diseases that affect animals and humans.
Thereafter, the National Task Force on Animal-Borne Diseases (NTFAD), chaired by the
Agriculture Secretary William Dar, will report appropriate recommendations to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
The public, especially those engaged in animal farming, is encouraged to report to the Department of Health any unusual sickness among farm workers.
The BAI urged the public to verify sources of information with either BAI or DOH for proper guidance.
Meanwhile, China on Wednesday played down the threat of a new swine flu strain with pandemic potential that researchers discovered in pigs, saying the study is "not representative".
The deadly COVID-19 pandemic, which has now infected more than 10 million people worldwide, first emerged in China and is thought to have originated in bats and jumped to humans through an unknown intermediary animal.
The new swine flu strain found in China, according to the study published Monday in the US science journal PNAS, had "all the essential hallmarks" to infect humans and raised fears over another potential pandemic.
But China's foreign ministry moved to downplay fears on Wednesday.
"The G4 virus mentioned in the relevant report is a subtype of the H1N1 virus," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a routine briefing.
"Experts have concluded that the sample size of the report is small and not representative."
Zhao added that "relevant departments and experts" will continue to step up monitoring of the disease, send warnings and handle it in a timely manner.
G4 was observed to be highly infectious, they said, replicating in human cells and causing more serious symptoms in ferrets than other viruses.
Researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from slaughterhouse pigs in 10 Chinese provinces, allowing them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses.
According to the study, 10.4 percent of pig slaughterhouse workers tested had already been infected.
So far, there has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission. China did not elaborate further on how many had been infected by G4.
"It is of concern that human infection of G4 virus will further human adaptation and increase the risk of a human pandemic," the researchers wrote, calling for urgent measures to monitor people working with pigs. With PNA