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DA confirms bird flu outbreak in Pampanga

by | News

About six poultry farms in a province in San Luis, Pampanga have been affected by the spread of the Avian Influenza Type A Subtype H5, prompting officials of the Department of Agriculture to declare an outbreak in the area.

The province of Pampanga has been placed in a state of calamity as declared by Gov. Lilia Pineda.

While there has been no report yet of poultry to human contamination, the DA has decided to cull the other 200,000 captive birds, valued at approximately P17 million, within the town to avoid the spread of the virus.

This is the country’s first bird flu outbreak, killing about 37,000 chickens, as per Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol last Friday.

A 1-km radius quarantine area and a 7-km radius controlled area has been declared. Chickens and eggs will not be allowed to be brought out of the controlled area.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has also banned the the transport of poultry from Luzon to other parts of the country until further notice.


 

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LOOK: Copy of DA Memorandum Circular on the temporary ban of live birds and poultry products from Pampanga due to bird flu outbreak.

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HEALTH CONCERNS

Avian influenza is a viral infection that spreads among birds but can infect humans as well.

As of Friday, authorities have not received any report of human infection, Piñol said.

He also allayed concerns over the outbreak, saying the DA has long prepared for it.

“The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry is not unprepared. They have long prepared for this crisis…This is not something that should cause us panic,” he said.

In a text message Friday, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial meanwhile said the outbreak is still under the DA’s investigation and advised the public to take precautionary measures against the flu.

“Do not go near wild birds or go to farms with fowls! If you have flu symptoms that last longer than 3 days or feel very weak, see a doctor or go to the nearest hospital for testing if its bird flu!” she said.

A team of epidemiologists from the Department of Health (DOH) has also been dispatched to assist the DA in investigating the outbreak, the health department said in a statement.

The DOH also assured the public that it has a supply of anti-flu medication should regional health offices and hospitals need it.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), human infection is primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals.

The infection may cause diseases such as mild conjunctivitis or swelling of the eyes, severe pneumonia and even death. Interaction with humans infected with the flu, however, does not result in “efficient transmission” between people.

The WHO also clarified that there is no evidence that the avian flu can be acquired by eating properly cooked eggs or poultry.

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