Negros Occidental remains African Swine Fever-free

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) head, Dr. Renante Decena, assured on Aug 22, 2019 that Negros Occidental remains free of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Decena issued the assurance after the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it had recorded “suspicious” deaths of hogs in some areas of the country.

He said they are strictly regulating the sale of frozen meat in the province’s markets.

As a precaution, Decena said they have formed a task force which would handle ASF if there are cases that will arise.

The task force had already sent a meat-handling advisory to all mayors in the province in order to keep them free from the disease.

Based on the advisory, all frozen meat must be stored in a product temperature which will not exceed zero degrees Celsius.

Decena also urged the cooperation of the public on the ASF.

Based on studies conducted by veterinarians outside the Philippines, the infection is believed to have originated 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.

Earlier this year, China culled over a million pigs in a bid to control the spread of the virus.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported the outbreak has caused the country’s pig population to decline by nearly 40 million to 375.3 million from a year earlier.

Analysts, however, believe China has been underreporting the situation.

Aside from China, the disease has also ravaged hog farms in other Southeast Asian countries.

In response to the issue, the local government has advised consumers to avoid buying pork products from China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.