TACLOBAN CITY – The African swine fever (ASF) has spread to Lope de Vega, Northern Samar, the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed on Monday.
DA Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) Technical Director Elvira Torres said it was the first confirmed outbreak outside Leyte province, prompting the agency to send teams to investigate how ASF reached one of the town’s backyard farms.
“There are reports that the virus was carried by a person who visited the hog farm. Traveling from a place with ASF could lead to new outbreaks without proper biosecurity practices,” Torres said in a virtual press briefing Monday.
Authorities have identified over 200 pigs in Lope de Vega that will be subjected to depopulation to stop the spread of the virus. They are located within the 500-meter radius from the confirmed case.
Lope de Vega recorded the first ASF case in Samar Island more than two months after the highly-contagious animal disease plagued Leyte province, with the first case detected in Abuyog town on Jan. 14.
In Leyte, ASF has been affecting the towns of Abuyog, Javier, Dulag, La Paz, Burauen, MacArthur, Palo, Pastrana, Tanauan, Tacloban City, Mayorga, and Jaro. About 16,000 pigs have been depopulated in those areas.
Initial investigation showed the ASF virus could have been transmitted to local farms in Leyte through an infected boar used for natural mating and by hog traders who may have fed their stocks with contaminated food products.
Pigs affected by ASF usually manifest high fever, distinct reddish areas on the skin of the neck, chest, and extremities, and bleeding of internal organs that could lead to death within two to 10 days. (PNA)