TINEG in Abra is one of the few towns in the Philippines which remains free from COVID-19. The place is so remote that it often takes more than two days of hiking to reach the place.
And yet, African swine fever has already reached Tineg through the wild boars that roam the forests of the remote town.
The Department of Agriculture – Cordillera (DA-CAR) said that they received reports from hunters that wild pigs in Tineg as well as in other remote towns of Abra like Boliney, Malibcong, and Daguioman already got the deadly disease that affects mostly pigs.
DA Cordillera Regional Director Cameron Odsey said they are still investigating how these wild pigs were affected by ASF.
He said that some of the residents of these towns might have brought processed pork that was infected by ASF and these might have been eaten by the feral pigs.
Odsey also said these remote towns share borders with Apayao Province in the Cordillera and Ilocos Norte which also have ASF cases.
He said that the presence of ASF in wild pigs would be problematic if we take the case of Europe which has the same case.
Odsey said that the only solution is to cull these wild pigs so that ASF would be contained.
There is currently no effective vaccine and treatment to contain ASF and culling and isolating affected pigs would be the only solutions so far.
The first ASF positive case in the Philippines was recorded in Rizal province in August 2019. It spread rapidly and by October 2019, Cordillera recorded its first cases in Kalinga and Benguet.
DA Cordillera said that more than 1,000 pigs were already killed by ASF in Cordillera and an additional 1,132 had to be culled to arrest the spread of ASF. Sixteen towns in all provinces in Cordillera are affected.
DA Cordillera has no exact number of how many wild pigs may have been affected by ASF.