CHCC keeping tabs on status of swine fever in region


The Commonwealth Health Care Corp. assures that it is keeping an eye on the African swine fever contagion that has now jumped from China to the Philippines.

This comes on the heels of an advisory from the CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources yesterday, warning residents and hog producers in the Commonwealth that the deadly viral infection can possibly spread toward Micronesia.

CHCC spokesperson Zoe Travis said that CHCC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program and the Department of Public Health have been monitoring the situation and are constantly receiving alerts from many agencies on specific illnesses or endemics to be aware of.

Travis said that the African swine fever is harmless to people, but are fatal and highly contagious among pigs.

“CHCC remains dedicated to staying alert to diseases such as the African swine fever and will monitor any possibility of it reaching the CNMI, and that it is no concern to the CNMI to date,” she said.

On Sept. 9, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service alerted DLNR that the Philippines confirmed that African swine fever caused the death of hundreds of pigs in towns near its capital city of Manila, making the Philippines the latest country in Asia to be hit by the disease, with hard-hit China and Vietnam culling millions of pigs and scrambling to find a vaccine to contain infections that have ravaged their swine industries. China is home to half of the world’s pig population. In Vietnam alone, the virus has caused the death of more than 4 million pigs.

Some experts have said the current spread of swine fever is the largest known animal disease outbreak in history.

DLNR Secretary Anthony Benavente emphasized that although Africa swine fever has not officially reached the Micronesian region, every effort must be made to prevent its entrance due to proximity of affected countries.

Marc Venus | Reporter
Marc Venus is the Saipan Tribune's public health and education reporter. He has an associate degree in Applied Sciences in Computer Applications and is working on his bachelor’s degree at the Northern Marianas College. Contact him at

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