Louella Mae Sas ||
The Department of Agriculture (DA) announced the first case of African swine fever (ASF) in Eastern Visayas last January 15, 2021. Blood samples taken from hogs in Abuyog, Leyte have tested positive for ASF. The virus affected the backyard farms of Barangay Can-aporong and Bunga where unusual swine mortalities were reported during the latter part of 2020.
It was on January 6 when the DA launched an investigation and took semen samples from seven pigs, four of which resulted positive according to the antigen detection rapid test conducted. For confirmatory testing, they also sent the samples to the Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in Manila, which confirmed the result on January 12.
It was agreed in the coordination meeting of the Department of Agriculture and the local government unit that control measures should immediately be implemented to control the movements of swine and hogs. According to DA Regional Director Angel Enriquez, disease control measures such as depopulation and proper disposal of the affected hogs, inventory of hogs in the identified areas, enforcement of strict border control, and disease surveillance and samplings, including in nearby villages, were implemented.
All hogs within a 500-meter radius from an infected swine would be culled, and the checkpoints would be operated by the Philippine National Police and the Provincial Agriculture and Veterinary Office. The local government has also banned the entry of all vehicles carrying pigs and pork meat.
According to the DA, it is not yet clear how the hogs have acquired the virus; however, they are examining two possible reasons behind it. DA Information Officer Francis Rosaroso said,
“One could be due to boars service providers as most of the affected pigs were adult female swine and second, due to swill feeding or left-over food, which we discourage.”