• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson reported yesterday the detection of African Swine Fever (ASF) and hog cholera, which has been blamed on swine mortalities in La Castellana, Negros Occidental.
Hog mortalities were also reported on Tuesday in the town of Hinobaan, by Provincial Veterinarian Placeda Lemana.
Lacson said the detection of ASF virus in La Castellana, which for the longest time was not affected by spread of ASF and hog cholera virus, may somehow affect the repopulation of pigs in the neighboring local government units.
The ASF was detected in September this year in La Castellana, almost a month after Negros Occidental logged zero hog mortalities.
But in areas with no reported hog mortalities, he said the presentineling program, a science-based approach to detecting the presence of the ASF virus in a particular area, will go on.
Lacson, however, said “we will proceed with caution.”
Negros Occidental, which has a P6 billion swine industry, recorded almost 18,000 hog mortalities in some of its 20 local government units since April this year. The value of losses to hog diseases, including those caused by ASF, has been placed at almost P200 million.
ASF cases were also reported In previous months in the cities of Bacolod, Kabankalan, Silay and Victorias, along with Pulupandan and Hinigaran.
While it is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease, the Department of Health said ASF is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans.
Lemana advised hog farmers to wait for the guidelines from the Provincial Veterinarian Office (PVO) before raising pigs again, especially backyard hog raisers.
PVO personnel are now surveying the province to determine the qualified hog farmers to undergo the sentineling program of the provincial government.
Lacson enjoined the PVO to fast track the sentineling program, without resorting to short cuts.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental is eyeing the start of swine repopulation by next year.
The Department of Agriculture earlier reported that ASF is now waning, although the threat is there.*