The Department of Agriculture (DA) has temporarily suspended the importation of poultry and other poultry products from China because of reported avian influenza outbreak.
In Memorandum Order 01-14, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala ordered the temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild birds—including poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen— originating from People’s Republic of China to protect the Philippines’ local poultry population, as well as human health.
Based on the report, Dr. Zhang Zhongqui, the director general of China Animal Disease Control Center-Ministry of Agriculture, said that they discovered an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in a village of Zhungzhuang, Jiaozhuang Baoding, HEBEI.
“An outbreak of HPAI of subtype H5N2 was detected among birds species and was confirmed through isolation and heamagglutination inhibition test conducted by Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences,” Zhang said.
Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) as well as pet birds and wild birds.
In its notifiable form, the disease can be divided into two categories—the high and low pathogenecity.
HPAI virus spreads rapidly, may cause serious disease and result in high mortality rates (up to 100 percent within 48 hours). The low pathogenic avian influenza can causes mild disease that may be undetected or no symptoms at all in some species of birds.
In line with the ban, Alcala ordered the immediate suspension of the processing and evaluation of the application and issuance of veterinary quarantine clearance on the importation of poultry products from China.
The official also mandated the DA’s veterinary quarantine officers or inspectors in all major ports to halt and confiscate all shipments of poultry and poultry products (with the exception of heat treated products) from the neighboring country.
To this day, the Philippines remain free from highly pathogenic avian influenza or bird flu. JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ