3 CamSur towns now ASF-affected

PNA file photo

LEGAZPI CITY -- The African swine fever (ASF) virus has reached one more town in Camarines Sur, bringing the number of ASF-affected municipalities in the province to three, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol said on Monday.

Continuous surveillance and monitoring by the DA’s Regional Quick Response Team (RQRT) for Animal Disease and Emergencies showed that Magarao has been added to the towns of Bombon and Calabanga which were earlier declared as ASF-affected areas.

Emilia Bordado, DA-Bicol spokesperson, said in an interview that a number of backyard-raised pigs had died due to suspected ASF in the villages of Sta. Lucia, Sto. Tomas, San Miguel, San Pantaleon, and Sta. Rosa in Magarao.

“We are just waiting for the laboratory report confirming that the dead hogs were tested positive of the virus,” she said.

Calabanga and Magarao are both neighboring towns of Bombon, which is the “ground zero” for ASF in Camarines Sur.

Bombon is 15 kilometers away from Calabanga, seven kilometers from Magarao and 23 kilometers from Naga City, the business center of the province.

In Calabanga, 12 dead pigs were tested positive of ASF, prompting the RQRT to dispatch a team to conduct culling of close to a hundred heads of swine.

Bordado said the likely cause of the entry and spread of the disease could be the entry of pork meat and processed meat products coming from ASF-affected provinces, which, according to her, previously went unchecked in various bus terminals in Camarines Sur.

After a task force on ASF was activated in the region, it has intercepted and confiscated a total of 894 kilos of pork meat and processed meat products in bus terminals in Naga and Legazpi City.

Last Saturday, authorities also confiscated a total of 317 kilos of siomai from Bulacan, an ASF-affected province, in a warehouse in Naga City.

Quoting reports, Bordado said the bus terminal in Calabanga could have been used as drop points for the shipments of ASF-contaminated frozen meat products coming from Metro Manila and other provinces.

Another factor that could have caused the spread of the disease was the dumping of animal waste from home-based slaughter areas to the respective river channels which connect to the Bicol River, she added. (PNA)