Thursday, December 31, 2020

Zamboanga tightens control in entry of hogs, fowls

THE CITY government of Zamboanga has expanded its tight control on the entry of animals and processed meats here in an effort to prevent local contamination or exposure to viruses and diseases.

Mayor Beng Climaco said the Office of the City Veterinarian (OCV) is now requiring all shippers of poultry to obtain a permit prior to the entry of fowls in Zamboanga City. 

“We are stepping up measures to prevent fowl diseases or viruses from entering Zamboanga,” she said, adding, the strict measure is in response to the recent confirmation by the Department of Agriculture (DA) of the avian influenza and Newcastle diseases (ND) among fowls. 

This was also confirmed by OCV head Dr. Mario Arriola, who said his office is coordinating with the Bureau of Animal Industry to prevent the entry and spread of such diseases in Zamboanga City. 

Arriola said shippers of poultry are required to subject their animals for inspection and present their Certificate of ND Vaccination issued by a licensed veterinarian to obtain a veterinary shipping permit from the Veterinary Quarantine Services. 

The World Organization for Animal Health said ND is highly contagious respiratory disease that affects birds including domestic poultry. ND is transmitted most often by direct contact with diseased or carrier birds. It can also be a public health risk as it can infect humans, causing conjunctivitis although the condition is generally very mild and self-limiting. 

In October, Climaco established the African Swine Fever (ASF) Prevention and Control Committee in response to the viral outbreaks in Luzon and some parts of Mindanao. 

Climaco issued Executive Order No. BC 596-2020 which underscores the need for the immediate adoption of the National African Swine Fever prevention program to protect Zamboanga from the dreaded animal disease and protect the swine industry and stakeholders. 

Smuggling of pork, pork by-products, and processed meat products shall also be promptly reported to the Philippine Coast Guard or the Zamboanga City Police Office. 

The ASF virus is transmitted by direct contact, ingestion of garbage or swill feeds containing unprocessed infected pig meat or pig meat products, ticks and biting flies, and contaminated premises, vehicles, equipment and clothing. 

While not a human health threat, the ASF is capable of annihilating the entire swine industry. As of yet, no vaccine or treatment exists to combat the virus. But stringent importation policies, early detection and strict biosecurity measures are being carried out to ensure Zamboanga City remains ASF-free. (Claudine Uniana and Zamboanga Post)

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