Zambo City forms multi-agency panel for animal disease prevention

City Hall of Zamboanga. (PNA file photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A multi-agency body here has been activated to control the entry of transboundary animal diseases amid the reported presence of African swine fever (ASF) cases in the city, a top official said Wednesday.

In a statement, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said signed Executive Order 738-2022 on Tuesday creating the Zamboanga City Multi-Agency Committee for the purpose.

Salazar said the EO is pursuant to City Ordinance 566, which mandates the prevention and control of zoonotic and non-zoonotic transboundary animal diseases and constituting various task groups or teams thereof for the concern.

Transboundary animal diseases are epidemic viruses that are highly contagious or transmissible and have the potential to cause serious socio-economic and public health consequences.

Salazar said the multi-agency committee is tasked to formulate policies and regulations on zoonotic and non-zoonotic transboundary animal diseases.

Zoonotic diseases, also known as animal-borne diseases, are those that exist in animals but can be transmitted to humans.

These include, but are not limited to rabies, avian influenza, mad cow disease, nipah virus, ebola, and foodborne diseases.

On the other hand, non-zoonotic diseases are those that infect only animals and are non-transmissible to humans. These include African Swine Fever (ASF), foot and mouth disease, rinderpest, rift valley fever, and others.

Salazar said the committee is also tasked to formulate zoning and movement plans for the prevention and control, implement public awareness campaigns, develop programs to aid affected sectors, and enhance contingency plans for emergency disease control.

The committee is composed of the city mayor as chairperson, the city veterinarian and the city health officer as vice-chairpersons and local government offices and national agencies as members.

Meanwhile, Salazar’s order also established the formation of task groups—surveillance, rapid action, quarantine, information, education, and communication teams—to be mobilized during a declared animal outbreak or emergency.

Recently, the city ASF task force has placed two villages here under lockdown and commenced the depopulation of hogs due to the presence of ASF cases. (PNA)

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