DA 7 warns producers, importers to be on lookout for AFS virus

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 warned swine producers, importers and feed millers to be on the lookout for the entry of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus in Central Visayas.

DA 7 technical director Joel Elumba said they are putting into place strict precautionary measures to prevent the entry of the virus in the region.

“Central Visayas is the fifth biggest swine producer in the country,” he said.

Elumba reiterated the call to prevent the entry of any meat products from countries that already had outbreaks of the virus like South Africa, Zambia, China, Russia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo said importation of meat from those countries is banned since they released an order last August.

“It’s a deadly disease that affects swine by direct or indirect contact, and what’s alarming is that there is no vaccine for it yet. The good thing is that it doesn’t affect humans. Once the virus infiltrates the swine’s body, usually in two to 10 days, the animal will die,” Domingo said.

DA Assistant Secretary Enrico Garzon said the virus’ carrier is human movement, especially in airports.

“If any individual from China or any of the countries affected will bring infected meat and we failed to monitor it, then we will get affected by this virus. Even the baggage that they bring that has the virus on it, there’s a tendency that it could also infect our swine,” he said.

He said that footbaths are already established in ports of entry like international seaports and airports, as well as strict prohibition of all food brought by travelers from the affected countries.

“In its ideal condition, the virus can even stay active up to one year,” he said.

The Philippines is the eighth biggest swine-producing country in the world. As of October 2018, total swine population reached 13.13 million heads, figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

Over 130 swine industry producers, importers and feed millers convened with DA officials at the Bayfront Hotel last week for an orientation on the ASF virus. JOB


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