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ASF infects hogs in 5 Catanduanes towns

By Cet Dematera

For the first time, hogs in the island province of Catanduanes have been infected with the deadly African Swine Fever (ASF) after tests turned positive among the hogs in the towns of Virac, San Andres, Bato, San Miguel, and Viga.

Dr. Jane Rubio, Catanduanes chief veterinarian, said that they are waiting for the requirements and protocols coming from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol regional office on how to go about depopulation or culling of the infected hogs.

She said that the hogs to be subjected to depopulation are those found inside the 500-meter radius from the ground zero, and surveillance zone extends up to seven kilometers, and the control zone will be up to 10 kilometers.

“And the technicians of the concerned LGUs are the ones to carry out the depopulation or culling procedure. They have to do it as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the ASF infection,” Rubio said.

She said the role of their office is to witness, supervise and coordinate with the concerned agencies to prevent ASF from spreading.

Rubio said that they already received unconfirmed reports that there were already cases of ASF infection in Catanduanes as early as the first quarter of 2020.

“But when we tested one suspected hog, it turned negative from the ASF virus,” she said.

Rubio said that the typhoons that hit Catanuanes could have aggravated the ASF infection because the animals we“The typhoons that hit our island stressed out our animals, including the swine. It could have aggravated the spread of the virus,” Rubio added.

Canduanes Gov. Jospeh Cua said that he called a virtual meeting recently where they discussed the measures to immediately stop the ASF infection in the typhoon-stricken island.

Cua said that laboratory analysis confirmed that five towns in Catanduanes were positive in ASF infection as conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) based in in Camalig, Albay.

In a related news, hogs in Castilla, a town in Sorsogon known for cheap and good quality backyard-raised hogs, has also been found positive for ASF based on tests conducted by the DA’s RADDL.

Castilla Mayor Isagani “Bong” Mendoza said that samples of hogs that turned ASF positive came from Barangays Sogoy and San Vicente where at least 238 hogs are being raised by different owners.

“We already buried at least eight dead pigs from these two villages yesterday. And we are now tracing the other pigs that could have been infected already,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said that he already formed a team to contact trace the locations of other hogs that were already moved away by their raisers when they learned that depopulation could be carried out to live pigs within 500-meter radius from the declared ground zero.

“We are receiving reports that some of the raisers have already moved away their hogs for fear of depopulation. But we are now tracing them,” Mendoza added.

He said that the ASF virus could have been brought to their town by the buyers coming from as far as Batangas and its adjacent provinces.

“Our town is known to buyers as good source of cheap yet quality hogs. In fact, every market day here in Castilla, buyers are rushing in coming from various near and far places,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza also expressed confidence that they have already contained the spread of ASF virus because no additional dead or dying hogs were recently reported.


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