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ASF sprouts in Cotabato

Maria Romero

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The dreaded African swine fever (ASF) virus remains a threat as it crept in the province of North Cotabato after processed meat products were reportedly brought in one of the villages in Magpet town.

This was confirmed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday, a few days after the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) of North Cotabato received reports of swine mortalities in backyard farms in Barangay Ilian.

“Immediately, disease investigation and surveillance and monitoring were conducted on 1 July by the PVO. Samples collected were submitted to the DA Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory XII for testing of ASF,” the DA said in a statement.

Culling planned
“The samples tested positive for ASF viral DNA. Another disease investigation was conducted on 8 to 9 July in adjacent barangays. Upon further investigation, it was recorded that there were about 68 swine mortalities of unknown cause. Samples tested from Barangays Magkaalam and Ilian were positive for ASF,” it added.

To prevent the disease from spreading and affecting hogs in nearby villages, the DA has scheduled culling activities of all hogs within a one-kilometer radius in the villages where the virus was suspected to have infected hogs.

Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Rufino Sorupia confirmed that about 123 pigs owned by 48 farmers were so far discarded in the villages of Magcaalam, Ilian, and Binay of Magpet town.

First Cotabato cases
The culled hogs will be paid by the government to farmers according to the prevailing market price of live meat.

Agriculture officials said the ASF cases in Magpet were the first in North Cotabato.

The first case of ASF in Mindanao was reported in Davao del Sur and hogs with ASF were traced to Don Marcelino town in Davao Occidental.

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