CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Local authorities are investigating reports that several hogs which died recently in Misamis Oriental and this city were probably infected with the African Swine Fever (ASF).

According to the provincial veterinary office, the reported deaths occurred in the towns of Manticao and Initao that started in the last week of January.

In a radio interview on February 10, Dr. Benjamin Resma, the provincial veterinarian, said about 37 heads of hogs, owned by backyard raisers, died in the two towns.

Dr. Resma said the hogs had shown symptoms of ASF include bleeding, difficulty of breathing, and dark spots on their body.

The provincial veterinary office has cordoned the areas affected within a 500-meter radius while blood samples were taken from the deceased hogs. Dr. Resma also instructed local government officials and hog raisers to stop selling or moving their livestock from their farms.

“I already met with the mayors and barangay chairpersons and advised them to see to it there will be no movement of hogs in their localities pending the result of the laboratory examination,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture in Northern Mindanao (DA-10) has a testing laboratory for ASF in the region, but samples have to be taken to another laboratory in General Santos City for confirmatory test, said Carlota Madriaga, DA-10 regional technical director for operations.

The agriculture office tested the samples from the affected farms, but it would need the result from General Santos before the agriculture department can declare if the infection is caused by ASF or not.

Madriaga said DA-10 has been reminding the growers regarding the dangers of the ASF.

Since the ASF has already entered Mindanao, she said “it’s just a matter of time before it could move to another area.”

Madriaga said they also received reports of hog deaths in at least two barangays in Cagayan de Oro, although the city veterinary office has yet to release details of these cases.

Meanwhile, the Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers Association (NorMinHog) has turned over P200,000 worth of reagents and laboratory supplies to DA-10 recently, the Philippine Information Agency reported.

Madriaga said the ASF laboratory supplies, which include primers, probes, and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), can test 1,000 reactions. It will be used by the agency’s Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory to test blood samples of hogs.

She said the reagents are significant in monitoring hog farms to prevent another ASF infection in the region.

For his part, Leon Tan Jr., NorMinHog president, said backyard hog raisers must use healthy and safe feeds that are available in the market, instead of swill feeding to avoid the risk of contracting the disease.

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