‘Heightened alert’ declared after domestic hogs test positive for swine fever
Lacson: Avoid bringing in pork products from other parts of the country
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Negros Occidental Provincial Veterinary Office is currently on heightened alert after the Department of Agriculture confirmed on Monday that hog samples taken from pig farms in Luzon tested positive for African swine fever. Department head, Dr. Renante Decena, said they have prepared all contingency plans in order to prevent the virus from entering the province.
He said they are presently awaiting an official order from the Department of Agriculture on how to regulate hog shipments from Luzon.
The provincial official said the province is “well-prepared” as the local African Swine Fever Task Force has been regularly visiting local meat processing plants, supermarkets, and ports.
In the meantime, Decena said all hogs ordered from Luzon will temporarily be barred from entering the province and has sought cooperation from local hog farmers.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson urged Negrenses to avoid bringing in pork originating from the outside the province.
“If you have relatives coming, we ask them not to bring in pork,” he urged. “Buy our local pork.”
Last Monday, Agriculture Secretary William Dar confirmed that 14 of the 20 blood samples taken from pigs in the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal tested positive for the African swine fever.
He suspects the virus came about due to leftover food from hotels and restaurants, which were later given to pig farms in order to serve as feed.
The Department of Agriculture was also reported to have already culled hundreds of hogs in the affected areas in a bid to prevent the virus from further spreading.
Based on studies conducted by veterinarians outside the Philippines, the infection is believed to originate from ornithodoros, a type of soft-bodied tick.
Hogs are infected after they are bitten by the tick, which then contaminates their blood.
The virus has no effect on humans but there is a need for strict monitoring at airports and seaports in order to prevent the virus from entering the country./DGB, WDJ