African swine fever

New ASF infections threaten General Santos again

Rommel Rebollido
New ASF infections threaten General Santos again

CONDEMNED. Workers in protective suits haul off a pig suspected to be infected with the African Swine Fever in Baluan, General Santos City on Tuesday, July 19. 

courtesy of Rich Gubalani

The detection of new infections comes days after the city government allowed General Santos to be a transshipment point for hog trading despite the African Swine Fever threat from other areas

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Authorities detected new African Swine Fever (ASF) infections in a village in General Santos City, prompting an order to start the extermination of several dozen pigs to keep the highly contagious animal disease from further spreading in the Soccsksargen Region’s trading hub.

Dr. Emilio Gargaran, acting chief of General Santos’ veterinary office, said on Tuesday, July 19, the infected were found on a hog farm in Purok Masagana in Barangay Baluan.

Results of random tests conducted on Monday, July 18, by the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) satellite laboratory showed several pigs with ASF infections.

The findings, Gargaran said, forced authorities to immediately subject about 77 pigs to culling.

At least 35 hog raisers in the village were adversely affected as a result.

Gargaran said tests were made after a pig died in the stockyard of a hog trader in Baluan.

The detection of the infections came days after the city government allowed the passage of live hogs, pork, and its processed form, from other areas, using General Santos as a transshipment point despite the ASF threat from other areas.

But city hall set strict conditions such as compliance to various levels of biosecurity measures, and accreditation for traders, swine vehicle operators, and swine farm operators, among others.

This is the second wave of ASF infections in General Santos since the January outbreak that started in San Lorenzo, an urban village known for hog-raising. At least 500 heads of swine were exterminated then.

The city was subsequently cleared of ASF and has regained its “green zone” status on the country’s ASF status map.

But General Santos saw an ASF outbreak as early as 2020 when hundreds of pigs were culled and discreetly buried in Barangay Conel.

Officials earlier said the 2020 outbreak was kept confidential to protect the local swine industry, one of the major drivers of the local economy. 

General Santos City’s P8.4-billion hog industry is the third largest in the country and some 5,000 workers rely on it for their livelihood. – Rappler.com

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