TACLOBAN CITY (PNA) – About 3,000 pigs have been culled in Leyte province since January as local authorities rushed to stop the spread of the highly-contagious African Swine Fever (ASF).
Teams from the local government have been leading the depopulation of live pigs raised within the 500-meter radius from the location of hogs confirmed as ASF carriers.
“In the past three weeks, the ASF spread is not yet totally controlled since there are new areas added to the infected zone and these are closer to Tacloban City, the regional capital,” Department of Agriculture (DA) Eastern Visayas regional information officer Francis Rosaroso said in a phone interview on Thursday, February 11.
Hog raisers whose animals were subject to depopulation will get Php 5,000 from DA for every animal culled under the agency’s indemnification program.
As of Wednesday, February 10, the department was still waiting for the results of confirmatory tests collected from samples of over 300 hogs in Leyte with ASF symptoms.
Only the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory in Metro Manila can examine samples for confirmatory testing.
The DA said ASF has been present in the towns of Abuyog, La Paz, Javier, Dulag, Tanauan, Palo, and MacArthur.
Leyte is the first province in the Visayas, which recorded confirmed ASF infection. The first case was recorded on January 14 in Abuyog town.
Initial investigation showed the ASF virus could have been transmitted to local farms in Leyte through infected boar being used for natural mating and by hog traders who may have fed their stocks with contaminated food products. Pigs affected by ASF usually manifest high fever, distinct reddish areas on the skin of the neck, chest, and extremities, and bleeding of internal organs that could lead to death within two to 10 days.