African swine fever reaches Davao City

Rappler.com
African swine fever reaches Davao City
The Bureau of Animal Industry confirms that samples from livestocks in two barangays in the Calinan District of Davao City are positive for ASF

DAVAO CITY, Philippines  – The African swine fever (ASF) virus continued to spread in the Davao region with the Department of Agriculture confirming on Thursday, February 6, that it has reached the outskirts of this city.

DA 11 (Davao Region) regional director Ricardo Oñate Jr told reporters here that blood samples taken from pigs from the villages of Dominga and Lamanan in the Calinan district, which were submitted to the Bureau of Animal Industry on February 3, had tested positive for the ASF virus.

On the same day the samples were taken, Mayor Sara Duterte issued an order to ban live hogs and pork-related products from the nearby provinces of Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental.

The mayor’s ban came after pigs in the Davao Occidental towns of Don Marcelino and Malita died of ASF in January.

Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista had since ordered the culling of the remaining swine livestocks in Don Marcelino and Malita, even as a lockdown had been imposed in the province.

It was not yet determined if the ASF outbreak in Davao Occidental was related to the Calinan case.

But Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said it appeared that the Davao Occidental incident started as early as September last year.

“This is what’s being told us. That as early as September, there were already cases of pigs sickened by the virus,” he said.

Piñol said the problem was not slow government response but the lack of information from the affected areas when the hog virus hit.

“No report came out then. It was only recently that local officials made a report of the incidents,” he said, adding that pig owners also probably did not report as early as possible.

Piñol said the problem with the ASF was that sickened pig might have already reached areas outside of Davao Occidental before the virus was detected and that these products carried the virus with them.

“The problem is traders would slaughter even sick pigs to protect their investment, which is very wrong. Imagine, your act would infect other areas and it would have a tremendous effect on the industry,” he added.

He said the disease might have also spread because of swill feeding.

“For example, leftover meat from infected hogs would be fed to healthy ones. That would make the disease hop from one host to another,” Piñol added.

In Davao del Sur neighbor North Cotabato, Governor Nancy Catamco created a task force on ASF to prevent the entry of the disease, which could potentially wipe out the province’s stock of 200,000 hogs.

Catamco said the task force would not only monitor entry and exit points in the province but will also act as hazard and risk management team.

Among measures currently adopted in North Cotabato included the establishment of quarantine checkpoints.

The City Veterinarian’s Office (VCO) of Davao City said that affected hog raisers in Calinan, specifically the villages of Dominga and Lamanan, would get assistance from the city government.

Dr. Cerelyn Pinili, the CVO head, said the city government would buy all pigs in the two barangays, including the sucklings, to help the hog raisers cope with their losses. At least 30 pigs had reportedly died from ASF in the two areas.

“We will buy the pigs at P5,000 per head including the sucklings,” she said.

Aside from the assistance that the hog raisers would receive from the city government, the Department of Agriculture will also give P5,000 per pig, excluding the suckling.

Pinili said that they immediately implemented a lockdown within the two barangays to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas. – Rappler.com

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