The Benguet Provincial Veterinarian has urged hog raisers to promptly report any sick animals to their office for proper intervention due to the monitored cases of hog deaths caused by the African swine fever (ASF).
Provincial Veterinarian Purita Lesing reported the three barangays with ASF cases involving 17 hog farms are Camp 4, Tuba and Ucab and Gumatdang in Itogon.
The first reported case was monitored in July in two farms at Camp 4 with four pigs culled from the farms.
Hog deaths were also reported in Gumatdang affecting 14 raisers, resulting in the culling of 37 heads when the hog samples were found to be positive of ASF. The farms were located near each other.
One ASF case was recorded in Ucab where four heads were culled as a result of the testing.
Lesing said they are conducting “test and destroy”, meaning only those hog farms that were tested and were positive of the ASF would be culled.
Some hog raisers are still hesitant to report ill pigs because they think that the “one-kilometer radius” is still being enforced. The previous protocol was to cull all pigs within the one-kilometer radius of an infected farm.
The culling was done in a swine herd, due to the nature of the ASF virus, which has a 100 percent mortality rate, to prevent further infection. After culling, the pigs are buried and the farm undergoes 30 days of disinfection.
Lesing said there were hog raisers who disposed of the dead pigs along the river at the height of Typhoon Egay, which could magnify the infection as the ASF virus spreads through the water, affecting those at the downstream areas.
Some hog raisers would butcher hogs that died of illness and would even distribute them to family members or neighbors.
ASF would not infect humans through meat consumption, but people can become vehicles of the virus such as during the meat preparation, which would still put the swine population at risk.
Earlier, Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas declared the ban on pigs and other pork-related products from Cervantes, Ilocos Sur due to recent cases of ASF.
Aside from Cervantes, Lesing said their office recommended a ban on pigs and other pork-related products from Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya and recently from Aringay, La Union due to the rising cases of ASF. – Ofelia C. Empian