DA-7 calls for heightened vigilance against ASF in Central Visayas

Published January 17, 2021, 10:29 AM

by Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY – The Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7) called for heightened public vigilance and more stringent border measures in all ports in the region following the official declaration of African swine fever (ASF) infestation in Region 8, the first case of ASF in the Visayas.

DA-7 Regional Director Atty. Salvador Diputado said in a public advisory that field reports on alleged high mortalities among swine population in Abuyog, Leyte since the first week of January already triggered an alarm.

 It prompted the DA-7 Central Visayas Animal Disease Surveillance Advisory Committee (CV ADSAC) to convene, in a virtual meeting on January 13, the chief veterinarians in all four provinces and other city veterinarians with the Regional Vet Quarantine Services (RVQS-7), and Director Eduardo Oblena of the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS-7) to implement drastic measures to keep Central Visayas ASF-free.

Personnel from various local government units (LGUs) and RVQS-7 deployed in ports were directed to strictly check all documents accompanying transported swine, and ensure that all livestock transport vehicles are properly disinfected with disinfection certificates must be present at all ports.

Online application for shipping permits is already enforced by the RVQS-7 with an additional requirement for submission of a route plan, the advisory said.

Bohol province issued executive order (EO)-56 on November 26, 2020, regulating the transport and movement of pigs and is now implementing regulation where trucks containing pigs are unloaded/loaded only in designated area within their ports. 

The province of Cebu will soon be releasing a new executive order to establish quarantine regulations on the entry of livestock transport vehicle and vessels into the province.

Veterinarians have further discussed the designation of specific ports in the region for entry/exit for trucks from Luzon and other regions affected with ASF.

The group also agreed to the conduct of random blood sample collections on slaughterhouses for negative surveillance. The laboratory tests will be conducted at the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL-7). 

To ensure the protection of the region against entry of the ASF virus, all stakeholders and the general public are advised to avoid pigs with swill; avoid the purchase of processed pork products coming from areas affected with ASF; implement biosecurity measures in all swine farms, backyard or commercial; and ensure that traders and animal feed deliveries must properly disinfect their transport vehicles.

DA-7 enjoined the public that unexplained mortalities in pigs must be reported immediately to the local veterinary office or municipal agriculture offices.