DAGUPAN CITY – Some 33 towns and cities in Pangasinan and six towns in La Union have been affected by the African swine fever (ASF), which accounts for some 4 percent of the total hog population in the region, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
In an interview on Tuesday, Dr. Florentino Adame, DA Ilocos Region regulatory division chief, said around 16,106 hogs have already been culled as of August 17.
In Pangasinan, some 2,183 hog raisers were affected, he said.
“There is still no vaccine to prevent the spread of ASF,” he added, citing Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur that remain ASF-free.
Despite the culling operation, Adame assured the public the economic damages due to ASF are only ‘minimal’ as the DA continues to give an alternative source of income to the affected hog raisers.
Meanwhile, Adame said based on their investigation, the virus may quickly spread through the practice of ‘apagan’ –or the purchase and distribution of ASF-affected pork meat for a lower price in communities.
He said in remote villages, a pig is slaughtered and is divided among local residents, either for purchase or gifts.
‘Apag’ is a Pangasinan word meaning ‘to divide’.
While the ASF virus is not transmissible to humans, hog traders are encouraged to follow the rules and regulations set by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS). Ahikam Pasion / PNA – northboundasia.com