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PIA Press Release

Task Force continues battle on FMD

By Mai B. Gevera

Davao City (19 January) -- The battle for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)-Free Philippines continues.

" We may have proven to have survived from this disease but we shouldn't stop from here. The funding we've been getting from Australian Aid may end this year but we should move forward with the right information that would continuously protect us from FMD.", said National FMD Task Force Head Victor Atienza.

It's been nine years since the country started the battle against the deadly virus affecting hogs in the Philippines.

The National FMD Task Force, a network of government and non-government offices, has also implemented the four program components of disease: surveillance, public awareness, animal movement management and vaccination.

Nationwide, the number of outbreaks significantly decreased from 1995's 1,553 to last year's 122 outbreak cases.

The National Capital Region had the highest outbreak number last year with 45 cases, while Region 4 had 44 cases. These regions along with Region 3 (Central Luzon) are classified as still suffering from FMD.

On the other hand, Mindanao, Visayas, Palawan and Masbate are internationally recognized FMD Free by the World Animal Health organization in Paris, France.

The said areas have been closely guarding their ports and territories for any unscrupulous trading and bringing in of animal and meat products from FMD-affected areas.

Region XI FMD Coordinator Maria Teresa Bacayo reported during the Communications Management Workshop held in Cagayan de Oro City last January 12-14 that authorities closely monitored quarantine inspections in designated FMD Quarantine Checkpoint.

" Any meat product that reached our desk that are tested way below the required standards are immediately burned by my staff," Bacayo said.

Humans are considered as one of the potential carriers of this virus since it can stay in the throat or nose for 24 hours without causing harm. It can also be transmitted through footwear, clothing or kitchen utensils or a contaminated environment.

This is why quarantine activities are implemented by providing footbaths in transport areas. Travelers are educated and enjoined to step on footbaths and are discouraged to bring any meat products going to the FMD Free areas.

Not just that, the NFMD Task Force has also been targeting the general consumers in reminding them about their right for a clean and healthy meat.

Last year, NFMD gave birth to the latest super hero in the supermarket, Super Pig. The embodiment of a disease-free pig, it reminds consumers not to buy "Hot Meat" or double dead meat to make sure that the slaughtered animals have undergone thorough meat inspection.

As the Task force is about to end contract with the foreign donor, it seeks to tighten up connections with other government and non-government agencies that would help sustain the campaign for an FMD-free Philippines. (PIA) [top]

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