BIRD FLU, or the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1, has been detected in nine provinces in Luzon and one in Mindanao, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“From June 10 to Sept. 15, new confirmed cases were reported in the (Luzon) provinces of Benguet, Kalinga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon, and Sultan Kudarat (in Mindanao),” the DA said in a memorandum circular.
The reported cases have affected avian species such as ducks, native chickens, commercial chicken layers and broilers, game fowls, quails, pigeons, pet birds and turkey.
“HPAI subtype H5N1 is a highly contagious viral disease that can cause severe clinical signs and possible high mortality rates to both domestic and wild birds, and has been also recorded to affect humans,” the DA said.
More than 50 countries and territories in the world have been infected with bird flu. This resulted in the death or slaughter of more than 316 million poultry worldwide.
According to the DA, surveillance for bird flu is a routine bi-annual activity required by the Bureau of Animal Industry.
The department has also issued guidelines on the movement of poultry, other bird species, eggs and poultry products and by-products across different regions.
“To ensure supply chain continuity and local food sufficiency, the movement of different poultry-related commodities is allowed subject to existing guidelines based on disease status of various localities and/or regions, with provisions of additional safety measures to prevent the further spread of HPAI to the remaining disease-free areas in the country,” the department said.
Under the circular, backyard and commercial farmers must show a negative test result for HPAI to be allowed to transport their commodities.
This test result will also be used as the basis for the issuance of the Veterinary Health Certificate (VHC) to ensure the avian influenza-free status of the farm.
“All backyard and commercial farms in HPAI-free regions shall still need to comply with the other documentary requirements,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson