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    Monday, October 14, 2019-7:15:50A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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DLNR advises hog producers on proximity of African Swine Fever

(DLNR) — The CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service advises the public and local hog producers that the highly contagious African Swine Fever has made its way from China to the Philippines with the potential to spread towards the Micronesian region.

On Sept. 9, 2019, USDA-APHIS alerted DLNR that the Philippines confirmed that African Swine Fever caused the deaths of hundreds of pigs in towns near its capital city of Manila, becoming the latest Asian country to be affected by the highly contagious viral disease.

According to CNMI state veterinarian Dr. Ignacio Dela Cruz, official notification has been made to immediate DLNR staff, agricultural quarantine inspectors, small pig farms as well as airport and seaport quarantine offices regarding the USDA-APHIS report of the African Swine Fever outbreak in the Philippines’ Rizal and Bulacan backyard hog producers.

Dr. Dela Cruz noted that the latest survey of livestock and poultry for Saipan was conducted in 2017. The survey accounted for 36 hog or swine producers with a total of 999 hogs or pigs being raised. These numbers, however, are just approximate numbers of the total swine producers on the island in 2017 and accounted for only 90 percent of the total swine population on Saipan.

“I’ve contacted the supervising officers of our Airport and Seaport Agricultural Quarantine and told them about the African Swine Fever outbreak in the Philippines that was reported on September 9, 2019. The first case was reported on August 19, 2019. Rizal and Bulacan are two provinces that are currently under quarantine. I think the plan of the Philippine government is to cull, contain, and completely eradicate the disease, which is supposed to be very complex, difficult and challenging, requiring a lot of manpower and funding resources,” Dr. Dela Cruz said.

Secretary of Lands and Natural Resources Anthony Benavente emphasized that although African Swine Fever has not officially reached the Micronesian region, every effort must be made to prevent its entrance due to the proximity of affected countries.

“African Swine Fever is a highly contagious and deadly disease that can adversely affect our livestock. Our state veterinarian advised our quarantine officers to instruct every inspector to confiscate and incinerate all pork products encountered at the seaport and airport, and to conduct careful inspection of each cargo and passenger from the Philippines and other ASF infected countries like China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, Hong Kong, North Korea, Laos, Thailand, and other Asian countries. We advise our hog producers, and distributors to be mindful of this and practice extra caution until further advisement from USDA and our office,” Benavente said.

USDA-APHIS shared that the Philippine agriculture department on August 19, 2019 opened a probe following increased swine deaths from backyard raisers and ordered that all pigs within a 1 km (about 0.62 mile) radius of infected farms be removed.