Earlier this month, the first outbreak of the highly contagious virus has been detected in the Philippines. The dead pigs that were found dead in the backyard farms of Rizal and Bulacan were tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF).
WHAT IS AFRICAN SWINE FEVER? African swine fever virus (ASF) is a contagious disease among pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs. Some of the symptoms are high fever, depression, loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs. Death is certain within 2-10 days to those affected pigs. To date, there is no cure or vaccine for this deadly virus.
CAN IT AFFECT HUMAN HEALTH? ASF created a scare in the Philippines which affected several meat firms. While the Department of Agriculture implements strict food safety measures such as prohibiting the transport of live animals and meat products without proper inspection, health and shipping permits, the National Meat Inspection Service and the Department of Health have confirmed that it is not a threat to human health. ASF does not affect humans and it cannot be transmitted through direct contact with pigs or pork.
1. Buy pork from reliable sources. In the Philippines, the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) makes sure that pork meat has passed the agency’s safety inspection before they are sent out to public markets. They ensure that animals are checked first if they are healthy and free from abnormalities before they are slaughtered. So, when you buy in groceries or public markets look for the NMIS seal as proof of safety.
2. Wash your hands thoroughly. Make sure to wash your hands with soap after handling food, after using the toilet, sneezing or coughing. Touching meat with dirty hands can contaminate it and could make you or your family ill afterwards.
3. Cook the meat thoroughly. Meat should be cooked at high temperature to kill foodborne bacteria.
4. Keep the meat refrigerated while soaking. In order to preserve the meat and prevent the bacteria from spreading, put it in a large container filled with water and add salt. This process called brining prevents the meat from spoiling. You can store the meat without freezing it.
5. Clean the countertops and sinks. Use hot and soapy water to avoid cross-contamination from raw meat and other poultry products.
Although African Swine Fever may not be a threat to humans, you need to stay alert for other infectious diseases that may strike you, your spouse or your children. Make sure to have health protection such as Paramount Direct’s HealthCare Cash Plan. This product covers hospitalization due to sickness or injury. It provides daily cash benefits for regular, ICU or dread disease confinement plus lump sum benefits for surgical or up to 30 days confinement.
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Find peace of mind by taking care of you and your family’s health. It’s better to be safe than sorry.