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On possible Avian Influenza outbreak: Vet relaxes bird flu scare, tells public to be vigilant

By Jason B. Neola

The City Veterinary Office (CVO) of the Naga City Government has alerted poultry farmhands to be vigilant against influenza virus that causes bird flu, a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals.

The warning was issued after a duck farm at Sitio Caromatig in Barangay Carolina in the city was reported to have been infected with the disease. The report was found out to be a false alarm after the fowls were tested negative in oropharyngeal swabbing.

The swabbing was undertaken last week of March by personnel of the Bureau of Animal Industry in the province assisted by CVO employees and the negative results were obtained after a laboratory exam conducted in Manila.

The fear of bird flu broke out after the Department of Agriculture (DA) ordered a stricter and containment measures against the disease in Camarines Sur, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Laguna, following its confirmation of outbreaks on the first week of March this year in some duck and quail farms in the four provinces.

The DA reported that avian influenza, another term for bird flu, was initially detected in a duck farm in Bulacan and quail farms in Pampanga.

The DA declared the bird flu outbreak in the Philippines on March 30, 2022. It likewise urged the public to report suspected cases of the avian flu to control and prevent the spread of the virus.

Veterinary doctor Junios Elad, CVO chief, said the results of the oropharyngeal samplings taken to all the ducks in Caromatig were negative. He, however, warned poultry farm owners to be watchful of their fowls and advised them to report immediately to his office once they noticed bird flu symptoms on their flock.

The common bird flu symptoms in chicken and other poultry species: purple or bluish discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs; diarrhea; nasal discharge; soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; coughing and sneezing; lack of coordination; swelling of the head; eyelids; wattles; hocks and comb; ruffled feathers; and lack of appetite.

He said that any one of these symptoms can indicate the presence of avian influenza, other name of bird flu, in the flock, in addition to sudden death that comes without warning signs.

Elad said that the location of the Caromatig poultry farm, which is owned by an overseas Filipino worker is almost 100 meters away from other households raising similar species. “We already geo-tagged the place within 1 kilometer radius so that it can easily be pinpointed once an outbreak takes place. Our office is planning also to establish in that place the ground-zero area, which will be the center-point of the 7-kilometer radius as part of our preparation to isolate the poultry farm from other poultry species once we have confirmed even a single case of bird flu in that area,” he said.

He said that his office is also conducting a continuous survey of farms that raise ducks, chickens, geese and other poultry species to be able to perform immediate response in case an outbreak takes place.

“As of this time, there’s no reported cases yet in Naga City about deaths on flocks,” Elad assured Nagueños.


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