PHL now bird-flu free, says Dep’t of Agriculture

(Eagle News) — There are no more cases of the Avian Influenza (AI) A(H5N6) virus or bird flu in the country, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The DA said that as early as Jan. 8 this year, the World Organization for Animal Health has declared that the “country is now free of the last remaining A(H5N6) strain of the Avian Influenza (AI).”

In a statement released on Tuesday, Jan. 19, the DA said that it did not detect any bird flu case in the country in the last three months.

In less than a year after the poultry virus reemerged in the country, the DA said that the Philippines was able to resolve the outbreaks of AI A(H5N6) in a commercial layer poultry farm in Pampanga, and backyard poultry farms in a village in Rizal.

Bureau of Animal Industry Director Ronnie Domingo said that they have not detected any case of bird flu or AI A(H5N6) among the poultry and other bird population in the last 90 days after the completion of cleaning and disinfection in the affected farms in Pampanga and Rizal.

Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar (Courtesy DA)

Agriculture Secretary William Dar congratulated the BAI and the local governments of Pampanga and Rizal for this development.

He said that this was very good news since poultry meat is a highly popular animal protein source among Filipinos.

He credited the BAI and the LGUs of Pampanga and Rizal for their swift action that limited the spread of the avian influenza strain to other areas.

It was on July 10 last year, that the recurrence of A(H5N6) was confirmed by the DA-BAI Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory. This was after the owner of the commercial layer farm notified the Pampanga provincial veterinary office about the sudden drop in egg production, cyanosis (dark bluish or purplish coloration of the skin and mucous membranes in chickens), and dying chickens in the farm

Another case was detected in Rizal, as reported by a farmer on August 26, 2020, to the municipal veterinary office of Taytay. The backyard farm had approximately 500 head of free-range chicken and 300 head of Muscovy ducks. The clinical signs — such as wry neck or torticollis, cyanosis of extremities — and death were observed since August 10, 2020, the DA said.

As a result of the swift action of the farm owners, sanitary control and containment operations to prevent the further spread of the virus were carried out immediately, it added.

The Philippines also resolved the outbreak cases in 2017 and in 2018.

(Eagle News Service)