African swine fever hits Iligan

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Nov) – Agriculture officials on Wednesday said they are trying to contain an outbreak of African swine fever in one of the villages in neighboring Iligan City.

Carlene Collado, regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture – Region 10, said a total of 664 hogs have been culled since Nov. 13 from the backyard farms of hinterland Barangay Pugaan.

He said the culling of hogs was a measure to stop the spread of the virus to other hog farms in Iligan and the rest of Northern Mindanao.

“We have to protect Northern Mindanao,” he said, noting that the region is the third biggest hog-producing region with a production of 101,911.97 metric tons as of July 1, 2020.

Collado said the presence of the African swine fever was discovered last Nov. 13 when 51 pigs got sick.

He said blood samples taken by city veterinarians and sent to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory were found to be positive of the African swine fever DNA.

In a series of operations that lasted until Nov. 17, agriculture personnel culled the pigs infected by the ASF virus.

Collado said mallet was used to stun the pigs before they got slaughtered because the areas affected were mostly remote. “It’s the most humane way of exterminating the pigs,” he told reporters in Cagayan de Oro Wednesday.

He said Puroks Upper Calawag, Pigtuliran and Taluntunan had confirmed ASF cases based on laboratory results.

But other puroks are likewise affected, specifically, Lower Calawag, Purok 4A, Purok 4B, Upper and Lower Ruruanga, and Tower. These areas, Collado said, are within a 500-meter radius where confirmed cases were found “or in a purok showing similar signs and symptoms, death of animals and history pattern with other puroks with confirmed cases.”

He noted that ASF is “a deadly viral disease to hogs with no vaccine” and could greatly affect the region’s P19-billion swine industry if not contained.

“We are appealing to the public to respect and step on the footbath on the respective animal quarantine stations and to refrain from bringing in from ASF affected areas any pork and its by-products,” Collado said.

He warned online sellers of siomai, kikiam, longganisa and other pork by-products to check the origin of their products and to secure business permits from the local government unit.

Collado advised backyard raisers to refrain from the practice of “swill feeding or pagbahug sa pasaw.”

He said that the Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers voluntarily compensated the affected farmers at P2,000 per culled hog.

The DA, Collado added, will also provide an indemnity fund at P5,000 per culled hog, and the city government will allocate a certain amount, too. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)