Tuntungin-Putho access road temporarily closed for biosecurity measures

by Ristian Aldrin C. Calderon

Banner announcements made by the UPLB Administration in front of the Institute of Animal Science, beside the old Animal Husbandry Arc regarding the quarantine in DTRI-Putho-Tuntungin Access Road (left) and the relocation of DTRI products beside UPLB Post Office (right). Photo by Ristian Calderon.

To ensure  biosecurity, the main access road of Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI) – Tuntungin-Putho via the Institute of Animal Science (IAS), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) is currently closed for quarantine. 

The first announcement was made last November 2018 and is now taking effect this January. The order has been carefully planned and analyzed by  university officials and the municipal office. They have also already prepared solutions for the affected livelihood in the area. 

The main reason for the quarantine is to ensure the cleanliness of DTRI and to conduct tests so that it can be free from any virus that can contaminate the area. 

IAS experts suggest that the presence of agents which may transmit the  M. bovis bacteria  in the quarantined area make it unsafe to the public. 

Given the concern,  E-Bike driivers and most of the residents living in the community of Tuntungin-Putho are unauthorized to enter the area that has been quarantined. 

This led to the relocation of the E-Bike terminal at Pili Drive, UPLB. Residents now pass through Buot, Tuntungin-Putho.

Los Baños Mayor Caesar P. Perez also visited and examined the temporary site last January 23, 2020, where the E-Bike terminal was moved. DTRI products were also moved and are now available beside the UPLB Post Office.

Most of the residents did not complain and were very understanding with the temporary relocation of the terminal even if the route is farther than their usual route.

Okay lang naman sa’akin na itake ‘yung alternate route sa pag pasok sa klase ko, although mas malayo, kailangang intindihin na quarantined yung area [access road] at hindi pwedeng pumasok or dumaan ang kung sino lang,” said Keegan Perido, a UPLB student residing in Tuntungin-Putho.

(“It is fine with me to take the alternate route in going to my classes, although it is farther, we need to understand that the area is quarantined and no one should just get inside or pass by [for biosecurity],” said Keegan Perido, a UPLB student residing in Tuntungin-Putho.)

It’s a major shift of routine for the residents of Tuntungin-Putho, especially for UPLB staff and students that live in the said barangay.

“It will go smoothly naman but the problem is meron pa rin mga lagusan or shortcuts na dinadaanan ng mga tao so baka makaapekto ito sa process and sa paglilinis ng DTRI,” says one faculty member that works inside the quarantined area. 

(For sure, it will go smoothly. But there is still a problem with passages or shortcuts where people still pass by, so this might affect the quarantine processing of DTRI,” says one faculty member that works inside the quarantined area.)

 “Hindi rin kami dumadaan at nagfo-follow kami ng protocol at guidelines before kami pumasok [sa office], yung suot namin sa labas, hindi namin sinusuot sa loob [ng quarantined area],” he added. 

(“We also do not pass by [the area] and we follow protocol and guidelines before we enter [the office]. We do not wear our outside uniform when we go inside the quarantined area,” he added.)

The e-bike terminal that used to be at Animal Science was relocated near the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Photo by Angelica Jayz Villar.

Bovine Tuberculosis and its effects on people

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic bacterial disease that is harmful to cattle and humans. Thus, temporarily shutting down the access road ensures the community’s safety. 

The disease is considered zoonotic, which means it can be acquired by humans that make contact with the infected animals. The clinical signs of bTB are weakness, loss of appetite and weight, fever, diarrhea, and coughing. 

bTB has affected the herd of cattle, leading to the decision to put down more than 100 university cows.  The virus, if not eliminated, could pose health hazards to the new batch of pregnant dairy cows (Holstein F.X Jerseys) from Australia coming in UPLB on February 17. 

The quarantine is set for 20-40 days.

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