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Eyes on Zamboanga City Status as ASF-free

Considering the absence of cases over the previous nine months, the Office of the City Veterinarian (OCVet) is considering declaring this city free of African swine fever (ASF).

Such a declaration will be based on blood samples taken from sentinel pigs placed in ASF-affected towns to evaluate whether the animal illness no longer exists here, according to Dr. Mario Arriola, chief of OCVet, on Wednesday.

According to Arriola, 87 sentinel pig blood samples were collected from three veterinary districts with barangays that the ASF impacted.

He mentioned that since September 2022, no new ASF cases have been reported in the city.

“The Department of Agriculture (DA) can only declare the city ASF-free once the sentinel pigs’ blood samples test negative for ASF,” he stated.

He stated that this week’s test is the second since January of this year for the blood samples taken from the sentinel pigs. Results from the DA’s initial blood sampling and surveillance earlier this year were unfavorable.

All 130 sentinel pigs the DA recently gave to the barangays affected by the ASF have survived.

4,655 hogs perished between January and August of last year, while 1,122 were culled because of the ASF virus in this area.

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