DA-BAI detects bird flu in Pampanga egg farm

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The Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), confirmed Wednesday the detection of avian influenza A(H5N6) or bird flu in an egg-producing farm in San Luis, Pampanga.

The virus was detected days after DA-BAI successfully eliminated avian influenza in Nueva Ecija.

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The agency said it detected a highly- pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain, specifically A(H5N6), in the San Luis, Pampanga.

“Using the ‘one health approach,’ the DA-BAI — in tandem with the DA Central Luzon regional field office (DA-RFO3), provincial veterinary office (PVO) of Pampanga, and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Luis —quickly implemented integrated disease control measures to arrest the spread of A(H5N6),” the DA-BAI said.

A composite team of veterinarians, animal health officers from DA-BAI, DA-RFO3, PVO Pampanga, and San Luis MLGU immediately imposed emergency control measures at “ground zero.” The team also conducted disease surveillance around the egg-producing farm.

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“The team humanely culled a total of 38,701 head of layers and disposed off them properly, employing the protocols under the Avian Influenza Protection Program of the Philippine Government,” DA-BAI Director Ronnie Domingo said in his report to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The health office of MLGU San Luis is closely monitoring all personnel involved in the disease control measures, Domingo said. He also assured the public the bird flu had not infected broilers, which are the main source of poultry meat.

Also read: Tests confirm Philippine bird flu strain can be transmitted to humans

Bird flu detected in Pampanga egg farm

According to the DA-BAI chief, early detection, reporting, and strong collaboration among concerned agencies would result in effective bird flu management.

“Initial field investigation showed the presence in San Luis of migratory birds, which has been associated with bird flu outbreaks in many countries, including the Philippines,” he said.

The DA-BAI urged poultry farmers in Central Luzon and in traditional IBAs to protect their farms from the entry of migratory birds. They should also report any unusual poultry mortalities to the agency.

The first outbreak recorded in the Philippines was in August 2017. It was officially declared over in September 2017.

The outbreak killed 37,000 birds (August 11), while more than 600,000 birds were culled (September 4).

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