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DA declares Rizal Province free from avian flu

Author: DA-AFID | 6 January 2023

The Province of Rizal regained its Avian Influenza-Free Status following the Department of Agriculture (DA) Memorandum Circular No. 1 issued by Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban on January 4, 2023.

The declaration is based on Article 10.4.6 of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2021), which provides that the Avian Influenza free status of a previously free country or zone may be regained.

This is after a minimum period of 28 days after a stamping-out policy has been completed, disinfection of the last affected establishment was carried out, and that consequent surveillance demonstrated the absence of infection.

The DA Regional Field Office, DA Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), and the local government unit (LGU) jointly conducted disease control measures such as stamping out, cleaning and disinfection, and other quarantine activities to effectively manage the risk of further infection.

The Avian Influenza Protection (AIPP) with Rizal Province yielded negative test results. More than 40 days also elapsed since the end of the clean-up and disinfection operations and surveillance has been carried out in accordance with the WOAH Terrestrial Animal Code.

Last June 29, July 12, and July 15, 2022, Rizal Province recorded confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Subtype H5N1 in the Municipality of Rodriguez affecting a commercial chicken layer farm, a backyard free-range chicken farm and a commercial contract grower farm.

To prevent the entry of HPAI virus and protect the local poultry industry, the DA also issued memorandum orders on December 29, 2022 to temporarily ban the importation of domestic and wild birds and poultry products from countries with confirmed AI virus outbreak.

The importation of domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs, and semen, from Poland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Chinese Taipei, Ecuador, Moldova, and Peru is banned until the order is revoked.

Undersecretary Panganiban also ordered for the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of the application, and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance to the above-stated commodities.

AI is a highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic and wild birds. HPAI, on the other hand, can cause severe clinical signs and possible high mortality rates especially in domestic poultry. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID) 

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