Swine fever detected in 5 more areas in Cebu
CEBU CITY—Cases of African swine fever (ASF) have spread to two more cities and three towns in Cebu after infections were first detected in pigs grown in Carcar City early this month.
According to the latest bulletin from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) on Monday, hogs in the cities of Cebu and Bogo as well as the municipalities of Sibonga, Liloan and Tuburan have been infected with the highly contagious viral disease.
The Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory confirmed the presence of the virus among the hog populations in these areas, the BAI said. The province was ASF-free for three years until the first cases were confirmed in Carcar.
The agency said it was conducting an investigation to determine the extent of the outbreak in Cebu province and assured farmers and growers that it was doing its best to contain the spread of the virus.
“All the protocols which are being implemented by the BAI are evidence-based actions and proven to be the best option for us as of date while there is still no approved vaccine,” said the BAI in a statement.
“We understand that the affected farmers are sacrificing their livelihood and we appreciate their selflessness to follow the protocols in place. This sacrifice does not go in vain as we work diligently and work hand in hand with you, our stakeholders, in protecting the hog industry,” it added.
Based on international management of ASF, the BAI recommended the culling of pigs or depopulation within an area of 500 meters from where an infected swine was detected to contain the disease.
But it remained to be seen if the BAI’s policy would be implemented in Cebu since Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia halted the culling of pigs in Carcar.
Garcia earlier said she would defy the Department of Agriculture’s policy as she wanted to protect Cebuano farmers and piggery owners who sought her help when healthy pigs were culled.
In a separate statement on Monday, provincial legal officer Donato Villa said the province would continue with its plan to draw up its own protocols contrary to what the BAI had wanted.
“The protocol the BAI will be implementing is unrealistic and has not gone through consultation with the local governments and the province of Cebu in compliance with the Local Government Code,” he said.
ASF, according to the National Meat Inspection Service, is a highly contagious viral disease that affects pigs, warthogs and boars. It causes pigs to have high fever and lose their appetite, leading to hemorrhages in the skin and internal organs. Infected pigs die in a span of two to 10 days.
Health officials reiterated that ASF does not pose any threat to humans and that pork products from areas where the virus was detected were safe to eat. INQ
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