Avian influenza hotspot areas in Bicol identified
By Connie Destura LEGAZPI CITY ---- To prevent the spread of the Avian Influenza (AI) virus that affected poultry farms in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office in Bicol identified the different hotspot areas in the Bicol region. Dr. Rona Bernales, AI focal person chief, presented the risk areas in the Bicol region during the “Avian Influenza Protection Program Stakeholders Forum” held last Friday at Albay Parks and Wildlife, this city. Bernales made updates on the avian influenza situation and the protection program for the region. DA came up with the AI preparedness plan for Bicol against the virus such as the reactivation of the regional AI Task Force Team and distribution and additional purchase of disinfectants and (Personal Protective Equipment) PPEs. For Sorsogon province the hotspots identified by DA are the municipalities of Bulan; Matnog and Prieto Diaz as duck grazing areas with 60,772 density of local duck population and 827, 428 density of commercial poultry population. Malawlawan Island, Castilla town, Pilar Egret Bowl, and Sagnagan Pilar are also included, Bernales added. In Camarines Sur, the hotspots are located in Cabusao Wetland, Baao Lake, Buhi Lake, Magarao Wetland, and Calabanga Wetland. Albay province has three hotspots namely; Polangui wetlands; Oas Wetlands and Libon wetlands. For the province of Masbate: the Chico Wildlife Sanctuary and Naro Wildlife Sanctuary, both in Cawayan Masbate and Bongsanglay Natural Park in Royroy Batuan, Masbate. In the island province of Catanduanes: the San Andres Wetland Area, Agojo point in San Andres and Panganiban Wetland Area in San Pedro Panganiban. For Camarines Norte: Wetland areas for the province of Camarines Norte. DA Bicol has declared the region as bird flu-free region. It regularly conducts information dissemination through IEC and multimedia.