Last Friday the Department of Agriculture (DA) thru Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, confirmed the first outbreak of avian influenza virus(bird flu) in the country, in San Luis, Pampanga.
Test specimens done by government authorities has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5 in the town of San Agustin in San Luis, Pampanga, which led to the demise of close to 40,000 poultry heads and placed the province in a state of calamity.
|The Department of Agriculture in direct coordination with other concerned government agencies have been on top of the situation making sure the avian influenza virus is checked and will not spread to other nearby communities.(photo credit to ABS-CBN)|
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, who has been on top of the situation since last week said, quarantine officers will disinfect all the six farms after all birds in the area have been culled.
"After 21 days, sentinel birds will be deployed in the affected farms to serve as the basis in determining whether the virus is still present in the area. If the sentinel birds will not show signs of the disease, the quarantine restrictions will be lifted after 90 days," Piñol said.
“Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing; wash hands often; take plenty water and juices. Have enough rest and sleep. Do not go near wild birds or go to farms with fowl,” Secretary Ubial said.
“If you have flu symptoms that last longer than three days or feel very weak, see the doctor or go to the nearest hospital for testing if it’s bird flu,” she added.
The Health Secretary assured the public that necessary measures were being taken by her agency in direct coordination with DA and other concerned government agencies.
“What we fear is outbreak if humans are affected because of no previous immunity from this type of virus, it can quickly spread,” Ubial said.
“The Department of Health is now closely monitoring the events surrounding an avian flu outbreak in poultry in Pampanga, as reported by the Department of Agriculture,” the DOH said in a statement.
The DA has decided to cull 400,000 birds - chicken, ducks, quails, pigeons and fighting roosters.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau has cautioned the public in approaching migratory birds in light of fears of the current bird flu outbreak.
"We discourage the killing or poaching of the birds because this could just worsen the situation. Close contact with the birds will risk transmission," DENR-BMB Director Mundita Lim said.
Transmission to humans?
The DOH has termed it as “Zoonosis” a situation where a disease can be transmitted to humans from animals.
As of press time, there are still no reported human contamination and that the DOH has re-assured the public that the transmission of the virus from animals to humans is low.The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa has the capacity to confirm cases of cross-infection to humans as well as to handle the infection should there be cases of human influenza, DOH said in a statement.