THE Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) said 15 provinces still have active cases of African Swine Fever (ASF).

The BAI reported that the most number of active cases was in Oriental Mindoro, where hog farms in eight cities or municipalities were trying to contain ASF as of Feb. 6.

The first ASF outbreak in the Philippines was detected in 2019.

Oriental Mindoro detected its first ASF case in October in two barangays in Roxas municipality, according to the provincial government.

The BAI also noted the presence of ASF in three Occidental Mindoro town, which had triggered culls to depopulate farms within the surrounding area.

Towns are classified as red zones if an outbreak is detected in a single barangay, with hog movements restricted. The mobility restrictions ramp up with outbreaks in two or more barangays.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) reimburses farmers P5,000 for each culled hog, up to a limit of 20 head.

Abra, Apayao, Zambales, Quezon, Laguna, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Negros Oriental, Southern Leyte, Misamis Occidental, Sultan Kudarat, and Agusan del Sur provinces also have active ASF cases.

The BAI also reported that nine provinces have active cases of type H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), or bird flu.

It said Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Laguna, Sultan Kudarat, Kalinga, Cagayan and Bataan provinces still have bird flu outbreaks as of Feb. 16.

According to the guidelines issued by the World Organization for Animal Health, a country or area may be declared free of avian influenza 28 days after the completion of depopulation, disinfection of the last affected establishment, and no infections observed while under monitoring.

As of mid-February, 15 provinces were classified as having recovered from bird flu outbreaks.

Last week, the DA announced Benguet was free of HPAI, after the first case was detected in 2022.

The DA has said that more than 90 days have passed since the completion of its cleaning and disinfection operations, and no trace of the disease has since turned up.

The DA has also declared Pangasinan, Aurora, Quezon, Capiz, Batangas, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Rizal, Cotabato, Isabela, and Maguindanao del Sur provinces as avian influenza-free. — Adrian H. Halili