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ASF hits 3 areas in Cebu

March 21, 2023 Cory Martinez 162 views

THE African Swine Fever (ASF) has already infected some backyard hog farms in two cities and three municipalities in the province of Cebu.

This was reported yesterday by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), saying that the ASF has been detected in Cebu City, Liloan, Sibonga, Tuburan, and Bogo City.

In a press statement, the BAI disclosed that the sample collection was conducted in backyard farms by the respective local government units (LGUs) as part of the disease investigation and surveillance.

The samples were then submitted to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (RADDL) Region VII and tested using Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), the “gold standard” for testing and confirming the ASF virus.

The BAI said that it continues to coordinate with DA Regional Field Office VII and LGUs to gather data and reports on other areas with suspected cases of ASF as part of a traceback investigation to determine the extent of the outbreak in the province.

Taking into consideration the Philippine situation and the devastating effects on the livelihood of the backyard farmers and hog industry, the BAI said that the government reduced the depopulation area to 500 meters.

“The BAI through the National ASF Prevention and Control Program (NASFPCP), has been implementing this protocol recognizing the burden that ASF has given to our countrymen. The depopulation policy is recognized worldwide as the most logical and tested means to contain the virus in the affected area,” the BAI said in its press statement.

The BAI assured that it works closely with the Veterinary Offices and Agriculture Offices of the LGUs and DA-Regional Field Offices in the implementation of ASF prevention and control strategies.

It added that awareness campaigns and meetings are being implemented to ensure that the implementers are aware of what to do so as to prevent the further spread of ASF, what to expect when there is an ASF-positive area, and what they can do to contain the ASF virus.

“The implementation of the policies such as strict biosecurity, implementing the control strategies including depopulation and surveillance is highly dependent on the cooperation of the local government as well as the stakeholders,” the BAI added.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a deadly and highly contagious disease in pigs. Prevention and control of the virus remain challenging since there is no available vaccine yet.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recommends the implementation of depopulation or culling of affected and exposed swine within a 1-kilometer radius.

The Bureau further assured that the protocols they are implementing are evidenced-based actions and have proven to be the best option for us as of date while there is still no approved vaccine.

“We continue to work closely with other government agencies, local governments, and provincial governments, up to the grassroots level, to inculcate the responsibility of preventing ASF from spreading further in the country. The responsibility lies not only among the implementers but also among the hog farmers, consumers, travelers, traders, and the public who are the most affected in the pandemic that is ASF,” the BFAR said.

“We understand that the affected farmers are sacrificing their livelihood, and we appreciate their selflessness [in following] the protocols in place. This sacrifice does not go in vain as we work diligently and work hand in hand with you, our stakeholders, in protecting the hog industry,” BAI added.