Vets looking into possible outbreak of Surra

Dr. Lorna Lamorena, South Cotabato chief veterinarian, said they have confirmed several positive cases of the parasitic disease on farms animals in several villages in Surallah town, one of the areas earlier hit by an outbreak.

"We took blood samples from several carabaos and cows there and we found out that they were positive," she said. 

Surra is a hemorrhagic disease transmitted by a bloodsucking fly and caused by a protozoan parasite called trypanosoma evansi. The disease primarily affects horses, dogs, cattle, carabaos and swine. Symptoms of surra infection include acute or chronic loss of body condition and behavioral abnormalities that may eventually lead to the animal's death.

Lamorena said they launched the random blood sampling earlier this month since cases of surra usually come out in the province at the onset of the rainy season.

She said they initially took samples in Surallah town since the previous surra outbreaks in the province started in the area.

"The results of our laboratory tests showed that almost all barangays of Surallah are currently affected by surra," Lamorena said.

Lamorena said they have started to treat all the cows and carabaos in Surallah with trypanocidal drugs to prevent the disease from spreading to neighboring municipalities.

Aside from surra, Lamorena said their office has also linked up with the agriculture offices of the province's 12 towns and lone city to also monitor the possible occurrence of hog cholera, hemorrhagic septicemia and fasciolosis or liver fluke.

For hemorrhagic septicemia, Lamorena said owners of the infected animals should immediately seek the help of the livestock division of their respective municipal or city agricultural offices for the immediate treatment of the disease.

She said they could also prioritize the area where the infected animal was, for their continuing hemosep vaccination program that covers all barangays of the province at least twice a year.

Lamorena urged owners of farm animals to submit them for deworming to avoid the liver fluke infection.

For hog cholera, which is reportedly endemic in the province, backyard piggery owners should regularly monitor the animals for possible symptoms of the viral infection.

The symptoms of the disease, which usually affect  piglets, are high fever, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, colds and skin lesions. The disease usually leads to the death of the infected animal within 15 days.

"Right now, we have not recorded any case of hog cholera in the province. But we are continually monitoring the situation of our farms and backyard piggeries to avoid an outbreak," she added.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) earlier warned residents against the possible occurrence of the disease, which already caused an outbreak among backyard piggeries in Bulacan province in Luzon. 

The outbreak, which hit more than 3,000 hogs and piglets from backyard farms, reportedly affected 20 of Bulacan's 24 municipalities. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)