Two new cases of bird flu in the Luzon province of Nueva Ecija have claimed the lives of 307,000 birds.
The outbreaks in the towns of Jaen and San Isidro come a week after a similar case in the neighbouring province of Pampanga in which 37,000 birds died.
Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Pinol said today (Friday, August 18) that specimens sent for laboratory tests carried the H5 strain — the same virus that struck poultry farms in San Luis last week.
A total of 28,000 layer chickens, 22,000 ducks, 57,000 native chickens and 200,000 quails died in the latest outbreak.
A one-kilometre ‘contained radius’ and a seven-kilometre ‘controlled radius’ have been established, while culling operations are already underway.
No human-to-bird transmissions have been reported.
Meanwhile, China has confirmed a bird flu outbreak at quail farms in the country’s southwestern province of Guizhou, the country’s agriculture ministry announced today.
The outbreak in Luodian, a city of 345,000 people, was confirmed as the H5N6 virus — a strain that has previously made the jump to humans.
The local government culled 8,110 birds after the outbreak, which infected 13,103 quails and killed 9,752 of the birds at some farms. Since the end of the winter months, more than 248,000 birds have been culled in China.
Last winter, South Korea and Japan also battled major outbreaks of the virus.
Since news of the bird flu outbreaks in the Philippines, farm-gate prices of chickens have declined by 50 per cent to 35-40 pesos from 80-90 pesos, which is below the cost of production.
The chairman of farmers’ group Samahang Industriya sa Agrikultura, Rosendo So, said chicken prices should be lowered so at least consumers could benefit. “This should be reflected in the retail prices because right now, there is an obvious disconnect from farm-gate prices to retail,” he said.
Elsewhere in the country, government officials are working hard to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Yesterday, the Bureau of Animal Industry Veterinary Quarantine Services destroyed 14,040 duck eggs that were seized Zamboanga City Port.
The 39 crates each holding 360 eggs had been transported from Pampanga, the site of the first outbreak.
The eggs were burned with gasoline in an excavation hole before they were buried six feet underground.
Officials are continuing to monitor ports, airports and bus terminals.