For the first time the Philippines is no longer Bird flu free.
Other countries in Asia has been affected with bird flu and the Philippines then was free from it. But with the recent outbreak in Pampanga the country now is one of those with bird flu incidence.
To contain the spread of the virus, birds within the 1 kilometer radius in the affected farm in Pampanga were culled even if they are not yet affected with the bird flu. A New Memorandum Circular issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry in the temporary ban on the movement of poultry and poultry products from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao. These are the precautionary measures that the Department of Agriculture is undertaking.
On the part of Region 9, the Regional Avian Influenza Task Force (RAITF) was convened last week for updates on the recent status on Avian InfIuenza. The AI protection Program was also discussed as well as the role of each agency in the Task Force.
Dr. Marie France Q. Jalao, DA AI Focal person said that for now the region is still bird flu free but there is a need to activate the RAITF, in order for the agencies involved to be on alert thus preventing the incursion of the disease in the region.
Each Local Government Unit present were asked to revisit their contingency plans. It was also recommended that an information drive be conducted in their respective municipalities in coordination with the Department of Interior Local government and the Task Force as well.
It is important that consumers and poultry raisers be informed on what bird flu is. Bird flu or Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of both domestic and wild birds. The carrier of this virus are the migratory birds.
Migratory birds are visible in wetland areasand mingles with domestic fowls thus transmission of disease in these areas are high, with this the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is on watch on the wetland areas in the region. List of wetlands will then be provided to the different provinces and cities.
DA has been actively conducting thorough disease monitoring and surveillance throughout the region. In fact, laboratory results from the recent surveillance conducted last April to June were negative for Avian Influenza virus. Samples were tested at the Regional Avian Influenza Diagnostic Laboratory of the department located at Tumaga, Zamboanga City.
Assistant Regional Director of DA Maria Melba B. Wee solicited the commitment of each agency member as they perform their part as Task Force of AI. She also encourages the agencies to join inthe information campaign by printing information materials that was provided by DA.
The poultry stakeholders were also present and signified their commitment to take part in the control and prevention by implementing strict biosecurity measures in their farms; allowing the regulatory division of DA to do inspection and surveillance and to immediately report unusual sickness and death of birds in their area.
With the concerted efforts in keeping the region Bird Flu Free, the BAI-VQS were able to confiscate and destroy 9600 incubated duck eggs at the Zamboanga Port.
As for the consumers, the DA encourages everyone to cook poultry meat and eggs properly and for the meantime refrain from eating them raw, since the country is on bird flu alert.# (ytavellaneda/DA9)