CABANGAN, Camalig, Albay—The Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) of the Department of Agriculture-Bicol already released the results of the tissue and blood samples from swine from Camarines Sur and Albay suspected to have African Swine Fever (ASF) through their Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR).

According to the RADDL Chief Dr. Rona Bernales, since March 17, 2020, RADDL tested a total of 78 tissue and blood samples from Albay and Camarines Sur. Thirteen tested ASF-positive in Camarines Sur while two samples from Albay tested negative.

The RT-PCR is a laboratory technique of molecular biology based on the polymerase chain reaction. It monitors the amplification of a targeted DNA molecule during the PCR. The ASF virus is a large and complex DNA virus with multiple outer layers and numerous mechanisms aimed to avoid an immune reaction in the host pig. 

When the disease hits a swine herd, a quick diagnosis is important so that the swine raiser and veterinarian can decide the best mode to control and contain the disease. 

The RT-PCR is a closed-tube system, which cuts down on the risk of cross-contamination in the laboratory also. 

The key to ASF control currently relies on depopulation of affected farms and prevention of new cases via strict biosecurity. ASF virus is mostly spread via contact with infected pigs or pig materials.

ASF is a fatal disease to hogs with a mortality of up to 100% but it is not known to harm humans. 

As of this writing, the 3rd District of Camarines Sur except Pili and Ocampo; and Naga City in Camarines Sur are affected with ASF in the Bicol Region. (jaysonmgonzales)