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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Government: Bird flu cases under control

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THE country continues to grapple with the spread of bird flu but government authorities gave assurances that the impact of recent cases of the disease on overall poultry product supply is insignificant.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Assistant Director Arlene Asteria Vytiaco told reporters there have been six confirmed outbreaks of bird flu this year, with the latest being in Sultan Kudarat and Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Vytiaco disclosed that the other confirmed outbreaks of bird flu were in Candaba and Masantol in Pampanga, Cagayan Valley and in Sampaloc, Manila.

The outbreaks in Pampanga affected quails while the bird flu cases in Cagayan Valley and Manila involved gamefowl. The bird flu outbreak in a Sultan Kudarat farm affected ducks while layers were infected in one farm in Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Vytiaco disclosed that authorities culled 17,425 layers in the Sta. Maria, Bulacan farm, but assured the public that its impact on the overall table egg supply of the country is “insignificant.”

Vytiaco said necessary surveillance measures are being undertaken by authorities to ensure that no other farms within the 1-kilometer radius of the infected farm are also infected with bird flu. The authorities will also pursue a 7-kilometer radius surveillance measure after the 1-kilometer surveillance as part of the government’s bird flu control protocol.

Authorities are now tracing the possible cause of the incursion of bird flu in the Sta. Maria, Bulacan farm, but they are not ruling out yet the possibility of migratory birds as a possible vector.

The bird flu outbreaks confirmed this year are still part of the series of highly pathogenic avian influenza subtype H5N1 outbreaks that started last year.

Vytiaco said the government culled at least 2 million birds from over 200 poultry farms last year to control and curb the spread of bird flu nationwide.

Vytiaco urged poultry raisers to report any unusual mortalities they observe in their farms to competent authorities so that necessary control measures are undertaken. She also reminded poultry raisers to improve their biosecurity to shield their farms from infection of various poultry diseases such as avian influenza.

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