The Livestock Banner Program headed by Dr. Annie Q. Barres – Chief, Field Operations Division, called the Provincial/City Veterinarians and Quarantine Officers for an emergency meeting regarding African Swine Fever on December 3, 2018 at the 3rd floor Conference Room, Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1 (DA-RFO1), San Fernando City, La Union.
The meeting was attended by 27 Provincial/City Veterinarians, Quarantine Officers, and representatives from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) to plan and prevent the possible occurence of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Region.
African Swine Fever (ASF) is a very infectious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs of all ages and is characterized by high fever, loss of appetite, bleeding in the skin and internal organs, and death that follows between 2-10 days on average.
According to Dr. Christopher James Tomas from BAI, the first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) was in China that was reported on August 3, 2018 in the northeastern province of Liaoning.
“ASF does not pose threat to human health. But for animals affected by this, there is no treatment for it, no vaccine and it is highly contagious,” stressed Dr. Tomas.
The DA, in coordination with BAI has set five (5) possible ways to prevent ASF in the Region.
1. Ban Pork Imports. The DA issued a Memorandum Order No. 23 Series of 2018 which sets Temporary Ban on the Importation of Domestic and Wild Pigs and their Products Including Pork Meat and Semen Originating from Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and China.
2. Avoid Swill Feeding. Swine raisers are advised to avoid the use of domestic food waste as swill feed for pigs.
3. DA has issued Memorandum Order No. 22 Series of 2018 prohibiting the use of Catering Food Wastes/Left-overs from International and Domestic Airports and Seaports as Swine Swill Feed throughout the Country.
4. Education. All concerned agencies should have massive information dissemination, in collaboration with the swine industry stakeholders as per ASF Technical Advisory that was released on August 31, 2018.
5. Submit Samples. A test must immediately be conducted if there is an unusual sickness and mortalities observed by swine raisers on their livestock.
Meanwhile, Dr. Benjamin Ike Paguyu - Veterinarian III, discussed the Livestock Quarantine Protocols particularly on quarantinable items like, Feedstuff and Raw Materials, By-products in livestock and poultry production, Dog Food, Live Animals, Processed and Semi-processed meat, Veterinary Drugs and Biologics, Raw meat, among others.
The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1 has a Regional Quick Response Team (RQRT) for Disease Events and Emergency headed by Dr. Florentino A. Adame – Chief, Regulatory Division to lead the conduct of animal disease investigation and control activities in the region. The team shall coordinate with local government units, and other concerned DA livestock agency in the conduct of animal disease investigations and submit disease investigation report.