The virus that causes African Swine Fever (ASF), a highly contagious disease affecting pigs with a case fatality rate of up to 100%, has been detected in Carcar City in southern Cebu.
This is the first time a case was confirmed in Cebu since the ASF outbreak in the Philippines in July 2019. Cebu is the second biggest hog producer in the country.
In a statement on March 6, 2023, the Cebu Provincial Government said the Bureau of Animal Industry Animal Disease Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory detected the ASF virus in blood samples taken from hogs at the Carcar City slaughterhouse five days earlier on March 1 as part of the local government's regular surveillance activities.
Provincial veterinarian Mary Rose Vincoy said they have been closely monitoring the slaughterhouse and other ASF tests have yielded negative results.
She said their investigation showed that the blood samples came from pigs that mingled with pigs from Negros Island in barangay stockyards.
The statement did not specify the number of pigs affected. It also did not indicate whether the affected pigs were culled.
In reaction, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn F. Garcia has banned for a month the entry of live hogs, sows, piglets, boar semen, pork and pork-related products from Negros Island.
Executive Order No. 9 series of 2023, which Garcia signed on March 6, imposes the temporary ban until April 5, 2023 in a bid to protect the P11 billion swine industry in Cebu.
It also revoked the passes issued to livestock transport vehicles coming from Negros and mandated stricter border control measures in all ports in the province.
Cebu produced 115,510 metric tons liveweight in 2021, the second highest in the country next to Bukidnon, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
ASF was first detected in the Philippines, particularly in Luzon, in July 2019. Since then, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said more than 300,000 pigs have been culled although officials believed the actual number of pigs lost may be higher.
As of July 2022, 53 provinces across the country have reported ASF outbreaks, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In the Visayas, the ASF virus has been confirmed in 22 towns in Iloilo, 2 towns in Guimaras and 1 town in Capiz as of Feb. 24, 2023, the latest FAO situation report showed. (MVI/Ventures Cebu)