SWINE RAISING. Hogs in a backyard piggery in Negros Occidental. At least 5,252 pigs have died in Negros Occidental due to hog cholera also known as classical swine fever, the latest report of the Provincial Veterinary Office showed. (File photo courtesy of NegOcc-Provincial Veterinary Office)

BACOLOD CITY – At least 5,252 pigs have died in Negros Occidental due to hog cholera also known as classical swine fever, based on the latest figures from the provincial government.

Office in charge Regional Executive Director Jose Albert Barrogo of the Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas (DA-6) said the province furnished him with the data on the hog cholera situation on Tuesday.

"When we talk about the cases of Negros Occidental as reported by the province, this is the biggest issue now," Barrogo said in a radio interview on Wednesday.

He said of the two batches of blood samples submitted by Negros Occidental to the DA, the first batch yielded negative results for African swine fever (ASF), but came out positive for hog cholera, based on the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) confirmatory report.

“For the second batch of samples from Bacolod City, we’re still waiting for the official report coming from the BAI,” he added.

Based on the information released by the BAI, the symptoms of ASF and hog cholera, both highly contagious viral diseases, are similar such as high fever, weakness or lethargy, loss of appetite, rashes or hives, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Vaccines are available for hog cholera while there is none for ASF, it added.

According to a report from the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), the swine deaths brought an estimated damage or losses of PHP63.5 million to the local hog industry.

Of the 5,252 swine deaths, San Enrique town logged the highest number with 1,936 heads, which is equivalent to almost 72 percent of its total hog population.

Some 406 raisers in the southern Negros locality, located in the Fourth District, have reported losses of more than PHP22 million.

Other affected areas in the same district included Valladolid with 936 swine deaths; Bago City, 852; Pontevedra, 461; Pulupandan, 374; and La Carlota City, 268.

Hog deaths were also reported in the municipalities of E.B. Maglona, Murcia, Manapla, Binalbagan, Hinigaran as well as the cities of Talisay, Cadiz and Silay.

Negros Occidental, tagged as a green zone by the DA for its ASF-free status, has banned earlier this week the entry of live pigs, pork meat and pork-related products from Negros Oriental, which has reported swine deaths in Dauin town due to ASF.

Having a PHP6-billion hog industry, Negros Occidental also imposed a total ban on the entry of all live pigs, boar semen, pork, pork products and other pork-related items from Luzon, Mindanao, Eastern Visayas, Panay Island and Guimaras Island, which all have reported cases of ASF between 2019 and 2022.

Last March, neighboring Cebu province was included in the ban, including Bantayan Island and Camotes Island, after the ASF virus was detected in Carcar City. (PNA)