(Text of an e-mail received by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE) on 17 September 1999 from Dr Teodoro A. Abilay, Director, Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture, Quezon City, the Philippines)
1. On 6 September 1999, the National Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Task Force received a long-distance call from the regional diagnostic veterinarian of Western Visayas reporting a suspected case of FMD in a backyard farm in Iloilo City. On the same day, the FMD Task Force immediately sent a veterinarian to Iloilo City. The affected pigs presented typical FMD lesions. Active surveillance was immediately conducted and seven of the 11 pigs in the holding pen at the Iloilo City abattoir were found to be affected.
All these animals were immediately condemned and incinerated. An all-in all-out policy was then imposed at the abattoir to prevent healthy animals from incubating the disease. All animals brought to the abattoir must be slaughtered at once. No animals are allowed within the premises between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. (i.e. after slaughtering hours). The premises are thoroughly disinfected on a daily basis.
2. To date, two backyard farms (14 animals), one stockyard (37 animals affected) and one commercial farm (140 sows) have been confirmed as affected. The distance between the affected backyard farms and the affected commercial farm is approximately 30 km. Initial investigations show that the main factor of disease transmission is movement of affected or incubating pigs. Infection at the commercial farm was traced to a breeding boar that was bought from an agent who kept the animal at the stockyard before taking it to the farm.
3. Epithelial samples examined at the laboratory revealed FMD type O virus strain. Samples are being sent to the FAO/OIE World Reference Laboratory for FMD (Pirbright, United Kingdom) for subtype identification. So far, the virus seems to be similar to the porcinophilic type virus circulating in Luzon. To date, no cases have been reported in other species.
4. Control measures have been set up. The whole island of Panay is under quarantine. Quarantine measures have been imposed within the island. Checkpoints have been set up between the affected province and the non-affected provinces. Vaccination will start within one week. This was not introduced last week since we were considering imposing a stamping-out policy but, because of the number of animals affected, we would be unable to provide compensation for all the condemned animals. The policy of condemning animals will be imposed on all animals illegally moved and found to be affected or suspected of incubating the disease. No compensation will be paid to the owners.
5. A meeting of the Provincial Veterinarians in Panay Island (Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and Aklan), the Department of Agriculture regional office and the livestock producers' association was held on 8 September 1999. An action plan has been formulated to contain the spread of the disease. All islands in Visayas and Mindanao have been informed about this outbreak.