WVisayas adopts steps vs Newcastle disease

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The Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas has implemented stricter biosecurity and quarantine measures in all ports of entry amid a Newcastle Disease (ND) outbreak in Luzon.

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DA Region 6 Executive Director Roy Abaya has ordered all livestock inspectors in seaports and airports to intensify inspection activities 24/7 to ensure the region will remain ND-free.

The order came after the DA central office imposed strict biosecurity and quarantine measures in the province of Tarlac following a new outbreak of the contagious bird disease.

Abaya stressed that preventing the entry of contaminated live poultry and poultry products to these provinces will ensure the stability of supply and prices of chicken in the local market.

He stressed that Western Visayas, leading in native chicken production and fourth in broiler production among 17 regions, needs to protect its lucrative poultry industry.

Meanwhile, Jonic Natividad, Regulatory Division chief, said that DA-6 is now procuring ND vaccines and disinfectants as part of the preparation for possible ND cases, considering the current effects of a sudden change in climate and the disease outbreak in eight provinces of Luzon.

He said the Newcastle virus is not curable but the best way to stop its spread is through vaccinations. However, vaccination does not guarantee protection against infection, he added.

Natividad also said free-range chicken, or those raised in backyards, are prone to ND infection because of poor cultural management practices, the absence of regular vaccination and a high risk of contact with other wild birds in the area.

“Newcastle Disease or Avian Pest is locally known as aratay. The first symptoms usually consist of respiratory distress and rasping and hemorrhage, followed in one or two days by a paralysis of the legs and wings. The bird’s neck may be twisted upward,” explained Natividad.

Exposure of humans to infected birds is known to cause mild conjunctivitis and influenza-like symptoms.

The DA-Bureau of Animal Industry already sent isolated samples of ND to Australia for DNA genotyping to determine whether it is the same strain of NCD in our country.

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