COOK CHICKEN AT 70 DEGREES, PUBLIC TOLD

Fighting cocks ordered culled

0

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Monday said he had ordered the culling of fighting roosters and hens in six game farms affected by the H5 avian flu outbreak in Pampanga.

“All fowls will be culled,” Piñol told The Manila Times in a text message.

FOUL DAY Chicken vendors watch over their empty stalls at the public market in San Luis, Pampanga, where officials continue to cull hundreds of thousands of chickens following the outbreak of avian influenza. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

The agriculture chief, however, did not give an exact figure of the number of chickens that would be slaughtered.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) last week ordered strict quarantines and checkpoints as well as the culling of 400,000 chickens after declaring a bird flu outbreak in Pampanga, the country’s first.


Six poultry farms in Pampanga province were affected and about 37,000 chicken layers have died because of the virus.

The Agriculture chief on Monday clarified that the country’s importation of chicks, hatching eggs and other fowls would not be affected, as long as stringent quarantine protocols were observed.

At risk of infection

No animal-to-human transmissions have so far been reported, authorities said.

Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag of the Department of Health (DoH) on Monday urged the public to observe precautions to avoid getting infected by avian flu.

“Those at risk of catching bird flu from affected fowls are the following: those handling the farms or those who took care of fowls that died due to bird flu, and those who cleaned the pens of affected chickens or chickens that died [because of bird flu], because you have to clean [the chickens],” he said.

“The virus may possibly be transmitted through the nose, mouth, the eyes. You might inhale it,” he said, but clarified the virus is not airborne.

There is still no report of virus transmission through the consumption of poultry products such as fried chicken or other chicken-based meals.

“There are no reports of people getting sick due to bird flu from eating chicken. That’s because nobody eats raw chicken. They found out that if you cook the chicken, the virus will also be killed, so it is safe to eat because it is cooked,” he said.

The DoH recommends cooking chicken at 70 degrees Celcius and to make sure the chicken is well-done and without any red or pinkish parts.

The Health department also released guidelines on the proper preparation of poultry products.

It said raw food products should be separated from ready-to-eat meals. Cooks should use different chopping boards for raw meat and other food items, and regularly wash their hands and kitchen items used for food preparation.

Avian flu may cause diseases such as mild conjunctivitis or swelling of the eyes, severe pneumonia, and even death. Interaction with humans infected with the flu, however, does not result in “efficient transmission” between people.

The avian flu strains that have been known to jump to humans are the H5N1 and H5N7 subtypes, said Celia Carlos, director of the Health department’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

In the event of a human case, hospitals will follow the protocol used for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERS-CoV), which means anyone who has flu-like symptoms must report to their local government unit so he or she can be taken to regional hospitals for isolation and monitoring.

Avoid migratory birds

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also urged the public to avoid any contact with migratory birds amid the outbreak of the avian flu in Pampanga.

DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Theresa Mundita Lim said close contact with wild birds risked transmission of the avian influenza virus.

Migratory birds stop briefly on wetlands such as swamps, marshes, intertidal and coastal areas, rivers, ponds, lakes and forests throughout the country, to rest and refuel for their journey.

Lim however discouraged the public from killing or poaching migratory birds “because this could only worsen the situation.”

The Philippines is a part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which is essential in providing areas for the temporary refuge of migratory birds.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Health on Monday called on the Agriculture and Health departments to continue monitoring areas where cases of bird flu have been reported and make sure the virus would not spread to other areas.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said he had no plans to call for a Senate inquiry on the matter and would rather allow the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture to focus on containing the spread of bird flu.

He noted, however, reports that bird flu cases began as early as April in two poultry farms in Pampanga, but the owners did not report it.

“I think the DA and the DOH should investigate whether the owners of the said poultry farms were negligent in reporting,” Ejercito said.

with KENNETH HERNANDEZ AND JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

Share.
.
Loading...

Please follow our commenting guidelines.

Comments are closed.