May 5, 2009

Philippines lift pork import ban, except Canada

The Philippine government has lifted the import ban on pork products from countries with cases of the deadly A/H1N1 influenza virus, except in Canada, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said Monday (May 4).


Yap said the ban on pork products from Canada was not lifted since authorities there were checking the possible transmission of A/H1N1 influenza virus from a human to a pig.


Last week, the government banned pork imports from Canada, the US and Mexico amid fears over the spread of A/H1N1 influenza, a strain of swine flu which is transmissible from human-to-human.


Health officials had said that humans could not contract A/H1N1 influenza by eating infected meat. The virus is transmitted from human-to-human through droplets emitted when coughing or sneezing.


The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) director Davinio Catbagan said the agency would consult with the science community and experts to determine whether or not they could impose a mandatory vaccination on pigs against swine flu.


Catbagan explained that not all farms are vaccinating, and that there could be a possibility of increasing the dosage of the coverage area as there was a time that the use of swine influenza vaccine in pigs has not been monitored.


He also proposed a mandatory vaccination for a wider population of the 13.7 million pigs all over the country.

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