Friday, February 14, 2020

African swine fever now in Mindanao, Zambo tightens watch

MAYOR BENG Climaco has reminded authorities to strictly keep a tight watch on the he entry of processed pork products and meat to prevent the spread of African swine fever following the outbreak of the fatal hog disease in Davao City and nearby provinces.

At least 200 pigs had died from the disease in two villages in Davao City and 13,000 more in Davao Occidental’s Don Marcelino town, and dozens more in Sulop town in Davao del Sur and in South Cotabato’s Koronadal City. 

Local authorities had already seized and destroyed over 40 pounds of processed pork products from Davao and Manila and intercepted at the airport after its owners failed to show supporting documents from concerned government agencies as proof that they were free from the African swine fever. 

Climaco said strict protocols will be observed to monitor and regulate the entry of hog and pork products here as a measure against the contagious animal disease.

Last September, Climaco organized the “Task Force Karne” with the local government working closely with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture in conducting inspections in support to the national ban on the importation, distribution and sale of all processed pork products from countries infected with the ASF such as China following the breakout of the disease in July 2019, mostly backyard pigs in the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan and then spread elsewhere in Luzon.

The task force is comprised of representatives from City Veterinary Office, National Meat Inspection Service, Task Force Ordinance, and Business Permits and Licensing Division. 

Climaco said random and surprised inspection in public markets and grocery stores, barter trade centers and supermarkets continue here to ensure that no canned pork products, particularly those imported from countries where ASF had been reported.

The FDA previously ordered the pull-out from the markets of all processed pork products such as luncheon meat imported from Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, South Africa, Zambia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Live hogs and pork products that do not have proper paperwork and certification will not be allowed entry in Zamboanga. These requirements include the health certificate and the veterinarian shipping permit, a document which all city and provincial veterinarians have been directed to provide in light of the ASF scare.

Checkpoints have been in placed in entry and exit points in Zamboanga since last year to ensure that no infected hogs and its pork products slip past the city. 

AFS is a large, double-stranded DNA virus in the Asfarviridae family. The virus is transmitted to pigs through direct contact with infected pigs, their waste, contaminated clothing, feed, equipment and vehicles, and in some cases, some tick species. 

Although ASF cannot be transmitted to humans through contact with pigs or pork, the virus causes a haemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in domestic pigs; some isolates can cause death of animals as quickly as a week after infection. (Zamboanga Post)

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