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DA, LGUs join hands to control and contain avian influenza

Author: DA Communications Group | 16 March 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) confirms the detection of avian flu in a quail farm in a barangay in Jaen, a municipality in Nueva Ecija.

The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) of Nueva Ecija received reports of increased mortalities of 1,500 out of 15,000 quails in one farm in Barangay. Ulanin-Pitak, Jaen, Nueva Ecija on March 9, 2020. Tests showed this was caused by the H5N6 subtype of the influenza A virus, or avian influenza.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said that DA and its Bureau of Animal Industry, in partnership with the local government of Jaen, are on top of the situation. While still conducting supplementary tests, immediate disease control measures were set up to mitigate the spread of the said bird virus.

According to the Secretary, a total of 12,000 head of quails were depopulated and buried on March 14, 2020, as reported by the Nueva Ecija provincial veterinary office, the Jaen municipal agriculture office, DA Regional Field Office III, and Veterinary Quarantine Service. Cleaning and disinfection were also implemented.

“Surveillance around the 1-km and 7-km radius will be carried out immediately to ensure that the disease has not progressed around the said perimeter. Animal quarantine checkpoints have also been established to restrict the movement of all live domestic birds to and from the 1-km radius quarantine area,” said Dar.

“We will ensure that the incidence will be contained effectively and swiftly to prevent the occurrence of the unfortunate outbreak a few years ago. We would like to emphasize that this is a single case affecting one quail farm only,” said the Agriculture chief.

While highly infectious to poultry species, the Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) said the virus subtype—which also affected farms in Pampanga (San Luis) and Nueva Ecija (Jaen, San Isidro, and Cabiao) in 2017—is not known to have infected people living within nearby communities.

Dr. Arlene Vytiaco of the Bureau of Animal Industry explained that while there is a possibility of transmission to humans through excretion and secretion, “the chances are very slim.”

“There is also zero mortality rate,” Vytiaco added.

The DA and LGU officials are currently conducting disease investigation and contact tracing to determine the source of infection. So as not to disrupt the supply of poultry, DA said the transport of day-old chicks, hatching eggs and chicken meat will be allowed provided the source farms have tested negative for Avian Influenza.

The DA encourages the poultry stakeholders to report any unusual poultry mortalities to its municipal/city, provincial veterinary offices. ###

References:
Dr. Arlene Vytiaco
DA Technical Spokesperson for Avian Influenza
DA-BAI Animal Health and Welfare Division
Mobile: 09301483105

Kristine Evangelista
DA Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness
Telephone: (02) 8928-8741 to 64

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