February 6, 2023

Hog raisers in Benguet who either incurred losses or lost their livelihood due to the African swine fever virus can restart their business as the Department of Agriculture – Cordillera can aid them with sentinel piglets.
DA – Cordillera Executive Director Cameron Odsey led the turnover of 50 native piglets tohog raisers through Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Miriam Tionganat the Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center on Sept. 3.   
Tiongan said the native piglets will act as sentinel or experimental piglets to test the presence of the ASF virus in the hog raisers’ pigpens. 
Several hog raisers from La Trinidad, Itogon, Tuba, and Atok were affected by the ASF virus.
Around 474 heads of swine from depopulated in various parts of Benguet due to ASF virus since the first reported cases last February.
Another 90 heads were depopulated in one swine facility in Atok last week of August.The concerned hog raiser got the swine from Pugo, La Union, which also conducted depopulation of ASF-affected pigs.
Tiongan said after the depopulation comes the disinfection of the pigpen for one month to ensure that the virus is killed. Then comes three months of down time, which means the pen will not be touched. On the fifth month, the sentinel pig will be reared for 44 days.
Tiongan said blood samples will be taken from the sentinel pig every week, which will be brought to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Manila for testing through the DA-CAR.
Tiongan said they are continuously monitoring local government units on the cases of ASF as well as providing information and reminders to hog raisers to raise their biosecurity.
Biosecurity refers to measures that are taken to stop the spread or introduction of harmful organisms to human, animal, and plant life. Free disinfection kits are also given to the hog raisers.
Tiongan said the hog raisers are reminded to regularly disinfect their pigpens and not to allow just about anyone inside the pens.
Further, swill feeding or the use of food scraps to feed pigs especially those coming from restaurants are strictly prohibited as this is one of the sources of ASF virus.
Hog raisers are also encouraged to immediately report to the OPVET cases of symptoms of the disease. – Ofelia C. Empian