By Patrick Ely Garcia
During one of the Talakayan sa PIA (Philippine News Agency) events, the officials of the Department of Agriculture 10 (Northern Mindanao) stress that the increasing cases of African Swine Fever wreaking havoc in the hog industry of other countries throughout the world is also a critical threat to the Philippine economy specifically in the Philippine swine industry.
Dr. Imer Dante Occeña, a veterinarian of DA-10’s Bureau of Animal Industry, said “(This) needs public awareness kay dako kaayo syag impact sa industry sa baboy (because its impact on the swine industry is big). In fact, it’s worth PHP260 billion (as an industry),”
“Given that (this disease has) 100 percent mortality, kung makasulod diri satung nasud sa Pilipinas dako gyud kaayo atung (if it enters the Philippines, we will have big) losses in terms of economic scale,” he added.
Dr. Angelita Barcelona, NMIS-10 technical director, said the public should not worry because the ASF virus is not contagious to humans but still reminds that the public should still be wary when purchasing and consuming pork products.
African Swine Fever causes a lethal haemorraghic fever in domestic pigs, warthogs, bush pigs, and soft ticks which usually becomes the disease vector.
Some of its symptoms include high fever, loss of appetite, redness of the extremities, shivering, abnormal breathing, and within a few days of infection, the host enters a comatose state and then die.
This virus can also be transmitted through contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects), such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, and knives.
Because of this threat, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol ordered a ban in the import of foreign pork products. DA Memorandum Order No. 22 prohibits the use of catering food wastes/ leftovers from International and Domestic Airport and Seaports as Swine Swill Feed throughout the country, while DA Memorandum Order No. 23 temporarily bans the import of domestic and wild pigs and their products, including pork meat and semen that originate from Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and China.