The DA has so far culled more than 20,000 pigs. The Philippines has 12.8 million hogs.
File photo
DA checking for African Swine Fever in Plaridel, Bulacan
(Philstar.com) - October 8, 2019 - 7:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture is conducting confirmatory tests in a barangay in Plaridel, Bulacan to see if the disease caused hog deaths in the area.

National Meat Inspection Service executive director Rieldrin Morales, also ASF Crisis Management Team head, said they received reports of hog deaths in Barangay Sipat in Plaridel a few days ago.

The DA team went to the site on Tuesday to get blood samples of pigs for immediate testing.

"We do not have the results yet. We have current traffic in our laboratories because of the sheer volume of samples that we have to test," Morales told The STAR.

"We are testing a lot of samples in Bulacan, not only those suspected cases but also those farms that are ASF-free so we can issue their permits for transport and selling," he added.

Short distance from Guiguinto

Barangay Sipat in Plaridel is about 30 minutes away from Barangay Pritil in Guiguinto in Bulacan.

Guiguinto was the last area in Bulacan confirmed by the DA to have been affected by the ASF virus. The DA, however, admitted that there are still areas in Bulacan that have yet to be named.

"The probability is equal on both sides. It can be ASF, it can be not. That’s why we are checking and conducting tests," Morales said.

Should test results show hog deaths were caused by the ASF, all pigs within the one-kilometer radius of the area would have to be culled.

Under the 1-7-10 protocol, bringing hogs in and out of the one-kilometer radius of the site of infection or ground zero is prohibited. The area will also eventually be depopulated.

Within the seven-kilometer radius, hogs will be under surveillance with restricted movements while blood testing will be undertaken. For the 10-kilometer radius, a mandatory monitoring and reporting of swine disease occurrences shall be implemented.

ASF confirmed in 17 areas in Luzon 

So far, the DA has only confirmed 17 areas in Luzon to have been positive with ASF.

These are the barangays in San Isidro, San Jose, Macabud, Geronimo, San Rafael, and Mascap in Rodriguez; San Mateo in Rizal; Barangay Cupang and another unidentified area in Antipolo, Barangay Pritil in Guiguinto, Bulacan, Barangay Bagong Silangan, Payatas, Tatalon, and Pasong Tamo in Quezon City, Mapandan in Pangasinan and two areas in Pampanga.

However, more areas, particularly, in Bulacan and Pampanga are being monitored.

Meanwhile, in a statement, flag carrier Philippine Airlines assured the public that food wastes from its flights are not being used as swill feed and are instead used as feeds for vermiculture purposes.

The DA is looking at swill feeding as among the primary causes of the entry and eventual spread of the ASF in the country.

"This procedure is being done in accordance with Memorandum Order No. 22-2018 released by the Bureau of Animal Industry prohibiting the use of catering food wastes and leftover from international and domestic airports and seaports as swine swill feed throughout the country," PAL said.

"The pork used by our catering service-providers and pork-by products are ASF-free," it added.

The DA has so far culled more than 20,000 pigs. The Philippines has 12.8 million hogs.

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE NATIONAL MEAT INSPECTION SERVICE
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