GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 6 July) – A hog that came from Banga town, South Cotabato, and butchered at an abattoir in Davao City was found infected with the African Swine Fever (ASF), prompting veterinary authorities to impose stricter biosecurity measures in and around the city.
The City Veterinarian’s Office (CVO) said on Tuesday the swine was initially cleared of ASF during antemortem inspection since the ASF virus is difficult to detect among live animals.
Dr. Maria Corazon Sepulveda, assistant chief of the CVO surveillance team, said in a statement that a pig processed on June 20 at the city’s Maa slaughterhouse was found positive for ASF during postmortem inspection. She said the pig’s carcass was immediately disposed of.
A hog stockyard at the Bankerohan public market in the city was also shut down after ASF was detected from a specimen taken from the place.
CVO quickly assured residents “there is no ASF outbreak” in the city and called the ASF infection at the Maa slaughterhouse “an isolated case.”
Last January, CVO has considered as ASF Red Zones five areas in Davao City – barangays Inayangan, Lamanan, Dominga of Calinan District; Barangay Magsaysay of Marilog District; and barangay Colosas of Paquibato District.
A series of ASF outbreaks since last March in the towns of Banga and its neighboring Surralah town have prompted the Department of Agriculture (DA) to declare South Cotabato as being in the ASF Red Zone.
The declaration prompted South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. to order veterinary officials in these towns to intensify their biosecurity measures and ban the movement of hogs and pork products.
The South Cotabato Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) bared that it has culled since March more than 400 heads from backyard hog raisers in two municipalities.
PVO reported on April 28 that the outbreak has been contained and began a 90-day clearing process in the affected areas. But the disease persisted and spread because hogs continue to be transported from the ASF-infected areas, the report added.
Veterinarians have warned that ASF is a highly contagious viral disease among pigs that generally results in high mortality. The virus does not affect people and there is no impact to human health.
Sepulveda said continuous cleaning and disinfection are being done at the slaughterhouse. “We gave them disinfectant and there is continuous surveillance and monitoring,” she added.
The discovery of the ASF infected animal prompted authorities to do daily city-wide antemortem and postmortem inspections of hogs and hog carcasses.
Stockyards in Davao City were closed after the stockyard at the Bankerohan Public Market yielded an animal that tested positive for ASF, which prompted authorities to cull all hogs in that place.
Sepulveda said their personnel have been making the rounds and closely monitoring public markets and stockyards, especially the city’s slaughterhouses, cold storage facilities and processing plants.
Sepulveda said CVO has already tightened border inspection of hogs being transported into the city.
CVO requires farmers with hog traders from ASF hit areas to present proper documents from the DA that show their animals are not infected with ASF. (Rommel G. Rebollido / MindaNews)