Bird flu outbreak under control – Palace


The government has contained the bird flu outbreak reported in San Luis, Pampanga, a Palace official claimed on Sunday.

“We believe DA (Department of Agriculture) has acted fast on the issue and has managed to isolate and contain the virus,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

The Palace official however did not say if the DA has issued an official report about the matter.

The province of Pampanga has declared a state of calamity because of the bird flu outbreak.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Friday confirmed the outbreak of avian influenza type A subtype H5 in San Luis town and ordered the culling of 400,000 chickens. The DA also banned the shipment of poultry from Luzon to other areas in the country to stop the spread of the virus.

TIGHT WATCH Police officers inspect the goods loaded on a tricycle at a checkpoint in Barangay Sta. Rita in Pampanga. The Department of Agriculture has banned the transport of chicken and poultry products from Luzon to other parts of the country. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Abella gave assurances that concerned government agencies are monitoring the prices of raw and processed chicken to prevent traders from taking advantage of the situation.

“We are closely watching the quality and the price of poultry products in the markets as the Department of Agriculture announced the culling of thousands of chicken in Pampanga,” he said.

“While we assure the public that there would be no price increase in chicken meat as there is only one area affected by the avian flu, we must see to it that uncontaminated meat is sold in the markets,” Abella added.

Piñol also on Sunday said the avia flu strain found in Pampanga is not transmissible to humans.

The DA chief explained that so far, a DA official exposed to the contaminated chickens has not shown any sign or symptoms of ill health.

“His health would be a manifestation that indeed the laboratory tests were accurate that this strain of avian influenza is not a strain that could be transmitted from animals to human beings. Otherwise, he would have been sick,” Piñol said in a television interview.

Malacañang on Saturday called on the public to be calm and vigilant amid the avian flu outbreak.

Abella said that the Department of Health was helping the DA to contain the virus.

Also on Sunday, Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato of Occidental Mindoro urged concerned government agencies to study the possible long-term economic impact of deadly diseases threatening the poultry industry.

Sato called on the Bureau of Animal Industries, National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), Department of Science and Technology and Department of Health to help the DA address the issue.

“I laud the DA for quickly responding to the situation. However, we need to be more prepared for the worst-case scenario,” Sato, a member of the Commission on Appointments (CA), said.

“The NMIS should make sure that no chicken meat products will be sold in the market that may expose consumers to undue public health risks,” she added.


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