The Department of Agriculture Eastern Visayas reports African swine fever (ASF) has now affected 42 towns and cities in Eastern Visayas this week, raising concern that the animal disease could spread to other areas in the region if farmers and local authorities will be complacent.
As of July 31, ASF-affected areas in Leyte are Abuyog, Javier, La Paz, Dulag, MacArthur, Tanauan, Palo, Burauen, Sta. Fe, San Miguel, Tunga, Barugo, Mahaplag, Leyte, Pastrana, Tacloban City, Mayorga, Jaro, Carigara, Tolosa, Dagami, Tabontabon, Ormoc City, Tabango, Matag-ob, Kananga, and Calubian.
In other provinces, towns plagued by ASF are Dolores, Oras, Jipapad, and Balangiga in Eastern Samar; Silago and Sogod in Southern Leyte; Calbayog City, Catbalogan City, Sta. Rita, Hinabangan, Basey, and Sta. Margarita in Samar; and Lope de Vega, Catarman, and Mondragon in Northern Samar.
“Only 217 of the 4,390 villages in the region have been affected by ASF, which is 5 percent of the total. This is just minimal, but we hope this will not spread to other areas,” DA Eastern Visayas regional technical director Elvira Torres said.
Some 13,697 hogs have been culled as of the end of July for fear of virus spread, representing 6.11 percent of the region’s 223,504 hog population recorded this year.
African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious, generalized disease of pigs caused by an Iridovirus of family Asfarviridae that exhibits varying virulence between strains and is very hardy to physical and chemical inactivation. The agent can remain viable for long periods in blood, feces and tissues. It can also multiply in its vectors.
It most commonly appears in the acute form as a hemorrhagic fever. Subacute and chronic forms of the disease also exist. Mortality is usually close to 100 percent and pigs of all ages are affected.