Davao City moves to prevent entry of swine flu

DAVAO CITY -- The local government has started intensifying of monitoring an information drive to prevent the entry of African Swine Fever in the city, a ranking member of the City Council said Tuesday.

Councilor Melchor Quitain Jr., the legislative body's majority floor leader, said the local government has already formed the African Swine Fever Task Force (ASF-TF) which, along with concerned groups from the private sector, is conducting information dissemination activities in the barangays.

Quitain said the ASF-TF was created on September 5 through Executive Order No. 37 signed by Acting Mayor Sebastian "Baste" Duterte.

He said the mayor's order seeks to protect the city from the swine flu fever, a severe viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs.

"It was constituted way ahead before the news about ASF was confirmed," the councilor said.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Monday (September 9), that the results of the lab tests have confirmed that ASF caused the deaths of pig herds in some villages of Bulacan and Rizal.

The DA, however, assured the public that there is no epidemic and the pork products in the country are still safe.

Quitain said the ASF-TF "will monitor all possible entries of meats like in seaports and airports," even as he reiterated that the ASF is not an airborne disease.

Duterte underscored the creation of ASF-TF, warning of the possibility that the ASF "may hit the country and reach the city in such proportions that would require urgent, immediate, and integrated action and response."

The ASF-TF will be headed by the city mayor with the city administrator as the authorized representative. The City Veterinarian's Office head is the co-chairperson.

Among the member departments and agencies are the: City Planning and Development Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Agriculturist Office, City Health Office, City Information Office, and the hog raisers (commercial and backyard) as private sector representatives, among others.

The ASF-TF will have the support of technical support teams that will be responsible for the preservation and protection of the city’s swine industry--the rapid action team; surveillance team; quarantine team; and the census team with various agencies and departments as members.

The rapid action team will carry out the immediate diagnosis of suspect premises and the initiation and implementation of the stamping out procedures while the surveillance team will conduct regular surveillance and profiling of swine diseases in the identified priority areas.

On the other hand, the quarantine team will ensure the implementation of quarantine measures in the ASF contingency plan while the census team will conduct periodic identification and consolation of data on swine population and location. (PNA)

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