KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato. Feb. 21 (PIA) - Surveillance and monitoring activities against African swine fever (ASF) in SOCCSKSARGEN Region have continued despite containment of the confirmed case in Koronadal City, an official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) 12 said.
Dr. John Pascual, chief of Regulatory Division and spokesperson of the regional ASF task force, said that DA 12, in coordination with local government units, has sustained ASF surveillance especially in areas near places with confirmed cases of the swine disease.
"Surveillance means that we collect blood samples from all pigs in villages proximate to places with known ASF cases. In Sarangani Province, these are the barangays situated near Davao Occidental. Blood sampling is done everyday," Dr. Pascual said.
"So far, of more than 1,000 blood samples collected none tested positive for ASF," Pascual said.
Also, he added, since the depopulation of a hog farm in Koronadal City on February 4, no additional ASF case has so far been found or reported anywhere in SOCCSKSARGEN Region.
Eleven of the 42 pigs culled from a stockyard in Zone III, this city, turned out positive of the viral disease. The trader sourced his pigs from Sulop, Davao del Sur where ASF incidents were earlier confirmed.
Immediate surveillance of the neighboring areas resulted negative for the swine disease. This means that the ASF incident here was only confined to the hogs brought in from Sulop, he said.
"We can declare that Region 12 is still ASF-free," Pascual said.
While surveillance and monitoring of swine farms and backyard pig pens are heightened, DA 12 and LGUs across Region 12 have also stepped up quarantine checkpoints in strategic locations.
At present, 25 quarantine checkpoints are in operation in entry points to the region including one in the boundary of Arakan municipality in Cotabato Province with Calinan in Davao City where two barangays - Lamanan and Dominga - were recently tested positive for ASF.
Checkpoints are provided with foot baths and disinfectants, and LGUs are given laboratory supplies for blood sampling.
Coastal areas are also being secured with the assistance of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority after Malapatan Mayor Salway Sumbo Jr. reported that they had intercepted pigs transported using motor boats, Pascual said.
Despite these positive developments, Pascual reminded the public to be always on the lookout and immediately report possible African swine fever infection in their locality to their municipal agriculture office, city veterianarian, provincial veterinarian or the DA regional office.
Pigs infected with ASF show the following signs: fever, cough, loss of appetite, and red blotches on skin.
Regarding the concern of hog growers in Gensan, Pascual clarified that "hogs, pork and pork products may be transported from Gensan provided that documents are complete, for example, NMIS certificate for pork and shipping permit and veterinary health certificate if pigs are transported by land." (DED/PIA XII)