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New cases of ASF, H5N1 discovered

African swine fever spreads to new island in Philippines, while China adds H5N1 avian influenza outbreak to list of animal disease challenges.

The Philippines has reported its first case of African swine fever (ASF) on the southern island of Mindanao, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The country had first detected ASF in September 2019 near the capital of Manila on the island of Luzon.

According to Reuters, the Philippines is the world's 10th-largest pork consumer and seventh-biggest pork importer.

Philippines Agriculture Secretary William Dar has ordered regional department officials to restrict animal movement in that part of the archipelago, the department said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Dar has said pork smuggled in from China, where millions of pigs have been culled because of ASF, could be behind the outbreak in the Philippines, the Reuters report said.

Avian flu

Meanwhile, media reports from China are suggesting a new outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza on a chicken farm in the southern province of Hunan, which neighbors Hubei province, where the novel coronavirus is centered. Reports say at least 17,000 birds had been culled in the outbreak as of Feb. 1.

Earlier in January, India reported to OIE an outbreak of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The H5N1 influenza strain reached global proportions in 2003, when the virus spread across Asia into Africa and Europe, leading to the loss of millions of birds as well as a human pandemic. The virus strain is still considered endemic in parts of Asia and Africa.

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