TACLOBAN CITY – Following the positive results of blood samples taken from hogs in Brgy. Calingonan, Calbiga, Samar, a full lockdown on swine and pork meat was enforced to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) conducted tests on blood samples from two separate piggeries in Brgy. Calingonan on May 29, 2024, suspecting ASF as the cause of recent swine mortalities in the area. The results revealed one positive case of ASF, while the other sample tested negative.

Mayor Red Nacario thereafter issued an executive order outlining the necessary actions to address the ASF outbreak and its implications on food security in the municipality.

On the one hand, Juan Paulo Cabueños, the chief of the MAO in Calbiga, emphasized the urgency of implementing a lockdown to contain the virus and prevent further spread among swine populations. Precautionary measures such as animal quarantine were already in place prior to the confirmation of the ASF case.

Prior to the issuance of the official executive order, a zero movement policy has been enforced in Brgy. Calingonan, restricting the transport of swine and pork meat. 

Despite calls to avoid mass culling, the MAO is conducting extensive blood sampling of swine within the red zone, which is the recognized one-kilometer radius from the initial outbreak site. 

While culling healthy swine remains a possibility, the MAO’s focus is on containing the infected areas and preventing further contamination. “Even during last week, with the results had yet to be known, animal quarantine in several areas within the red and yellow zones were already implemented,” Cabueños said.

Meanwhile, a new suspected case of ASF has been identified in an adjacent piggery, raising concerns about the virus’ potential spread.

The ASF outbreak in Calbiga follows previous reports of infections in the neighboring town of San Sebastian. Investigations are ongoing to determine any link between the recent cases in Calbiga and those in nearby areas. By Marie Tonette Marticio (EV Mail June 3-9, 2024 issue)