ASF Regional forum enlightens livestock stakeholders

Article

by James Earl Ogatis

Iloilo City- A total to 105 livestock stakeholders composed of livestock technicians, provincial veterinary officers, local and national government agencies and private sectors from the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Guimaras and Negros Occidental were informed about the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF), July 26.

Dr. John Roel C. Hilario regional veterinary quarantine officer of BAI-VQS 6 said that ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral diseases that could affect domestic and wild pigs of all ages. It is characterized by high fever, loss of appetite, reddening of the skin and hemorrhages of the internal organs which resulted to 100% mortality after two to ten days on the average.

Hilario stressed that ASF could be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals, ingestion of garbage/swill feed containing the virus, fomites and tick bites.

“We must be aware that ASF is a threat because it is not present as of this time, it is highly contagious, there is no vaccine and treatment but it cannot be transmitted to humans and there is no public health risk,” said Dr. Hilario.

ASF virus is highly resistant in the environment especially at lower temperatures and could survive for several days in feces, months in contaminated pens, over 140 days in some pork products and even years in frozen carcasses.

He added that the virus in meat products can be killed by heat at 70C or 150F for 30 minutes and can be inactivated at pH below 3.9 or above 11.5 while higher pH is needed if serum is present.

The DA-BAI has employed strategic measures dubbed as BABES which stands for Ban pork imports, Avoid swill feeding, Block entry at international ports, Educate the public and Submit samples.

“We have existing temporary ban on importation of domestic and wild pigs and their products including pork meat, semen, process foods and canned foods from ASF affected countries like Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, China, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, south Africa, Zambia, Mongolia, Vietnam and Laos.” Said Dr. Hilario.

Hilario said that animal quarantine officers have already confiscated lots of processed and canned foods which were subjected to proper disposal from these countries.

Dr. Peter Sobrevega, regional technical director for research and regulatory encouraged the participants to actively participate in ensuring that our swine industry as ASF-free saying that this is everybody’s concern.

While Dir. Rene B. Famoso, RTD for operations positively encouraged the stakeholders to look at the brighter side and the opportunities our present situation could provide. This could be an ample time that the swine industry could exploit to take advantage of the market noting we are not affected by ASF therefore we could possibly export our pork products to our neighboring countries.

Dr. Leonel Abordo, Capiz Provincial Veterinary Officer said that there should be clear guidelines on the areas to be covered with regards to the formation of ASF task force for smooth implementation of policies on apprehension, monitoring and surveillance in cases of an outbreak. Meanwhile, Ms. Maricon G. Dimatulac of the food and drugs administration (FDA) 6 discussed regulations and activities concerning ASF which include monitoring and recalling of processed and canned foods sold in the supermarkets.
ASF posters and flyers were given to the participants after the forum.