The Philippine Department of Agriculture has confirmed that African swine fever was the “suspected” swine disease that broke out last month in small backyard farms in the Rizal province and prompted the depopulation of more than 7,000 hogs.
Upon receipt of incident reports, the DA immediately directed the Bureau of Animal Industry to collect and send blood samples to the World Reference Laboratory in Pirbright, England, which is also the OIE Reference Laboratory for ASF. On Monday DA Secretary William Dar announced the results of the Polymerase Chain Reaction test was ASF, but says the country is still waiting to receive the viral isolation test from the UK.
The DA issued a statement Monday saying it was vigorously enforcing the “1-7-10 Protocol” to manage, contain and control the outbreak. This means that within 1-kilometer radius of infected farms, BAI and concerned DA Regional Field Offices have set up quarantine checkpoints at strategic locations to prevent the movement of all live pigs, pork and pork-related products. All pigs tested positive within the area are culled. For swine farms within a 7-kilometer radius, BAI and concerned RFO conduct surveillance procedures, test animals to determine the extent of infection and limit animal movement. Finally, in farms within a 10-kilometer radius, mandatory disease reporting is required.
“We sent the samples to England to ascertain what really caused the pig mortalities. To date, we believe we have successfully managed the issue, as a misstep could erode the gains and competitiveness of the country’s P260-billion-peso swine industry that provides and sustains the livelihood of millions of Filipino families, as roughly two-thirds or 65% of the industry is contributed by small backyard raisers.
“We commend our Crisis Management Task Force on Swine for overseeing the vigorous implementation of appropriate measures – notably the “1-7-10 Protocol” – to effectively manage, contain and control the situation, as well provide timely and accurate information for all stakeholders and the general public.
“We also activated and mobilized respective Quick Response Teams at DA Regional Field Offices to implemented complementary measures.
“We maintain that meat and meat products — with appropriate NMIS or National Meat Inspection Service seal and veterinary health certificate issued by the DA-BAI and veterinary offices of LGUs — sold in public markets are safe for human consumption.”
In addition to these measures, the DA has issued to date three administrative orders:
- Guidelines in securing certificate of farm disease-free status in disease outbreak areas. This enables owners to get needed certification from DA-BAI, declaring their farm is disease-free and not affected by current swine disease in subject area.
- Revised guidelines on the local movement of swine, pork, pork products and pork by-products outside disease outbreak areas. This policy strengthens current procedures on said subject.
- Veterinary quarantine movement protocol during animal disease outbreaks/emergencies. This ensures a protocol is in place and to manage, contain and control a suspected swine disease.
The DA says while vigilance continues across the country, it commends its partners in the local swine industry, local government units, the military and the Philippine National Police for their strong support, cooperation and assistance in the various measures carried out on the ground.
“They have been engaged all throughout this episode — and we will continue to do so — in keeping with the Department of Agriculture’s policy of participatory and consultative decision-making.
“Rest assured that the DA is on top of the situation. We are prepared to respond to all scenarios. We assure the public there is enough supply of pork in the market.
“We are pleased to report that we have already suspended the ground operations in Rizal and will now focus on cleaning and disinfection operations. However, we will remain vigilant and continue to vigorously conduct surveillance and quarantine measures.”