The first cases of African swine flu were confirmed in the Philippines on Monday September 9th. The disease has killed scores of pigs from Slovakia to China, pushing up the price of pork, AFP has reported.
Luckily, the virus cannot be transmitted to humans but when pigs contract it, severe haemorrhagic fever is almost always followed by death.
Scientists have not yet found a cure or vaccine for the virus and the only solution is a mass cull of affected livestock to stop the virus from spreading further.
According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, infected pigs were located in two towns near the capital Manila and authorities in response had to eliminate 7,000 livestock within a one-kilometer radius as a preventive measure.
He said the nation was not facing an epidemic and urged Filipinos to continue eating pork, which is a critical market and accounts for 60% of meat consumption in the Philippines.
"We have never been in an epidemic, just to highlight that. We are responding to the increased number of deaths of pigs," Dar said.
In May, pork prices worldwide surged due to swine flu outbreaks, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization, rising by up to 50% in China and on the Chicago futures exchange.