DA Bicol: No bird flu in region

NAGA CITY 8/31/17 (Bicol Standard)--"There is no case of bird flu in the Bicol region," Dr. Rona P. Bernales, Regional Animal Health Coordinator announced to the media this morning.

In a press conference organized by Emily B. Bordado of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 5 this morning, Bernales emphasized that the agency has beefed up the measures in the inter-island transportation of birds and poultry products because of the recent threat of bird flu, also known as avian influenza.

"Those intending to transport birds must secure a shipping permit and a veterinary health certificate," she said.

She noted that since the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga, vendors of poultry products in the region have seen a decline in their sales.

Even the growers of corn, which are used as poultry feed, have reported less income recently.

"That is why we must strengthen our information drive," she said.

"There is nothing to fear, as bird flu has not been recorded in this region," she added.

Still, she said, farmers should be alert to the signs of bird flu: severe depression and inappetence, drastic decline in egg production, swollen and bluish combs and wattles, dehydration, severe congestion of musculature, severe congestion of conjunctiva, excessive mucous exudate in tracheal lumen, severe hemorrhagic tracheitic, urate deposits in renal tubules, hemorrhage and degeneration of the ovary, and hemorrhage and erosion of the gizzard lining.

The do's and don'ts in avoiding bird flu must also be followed.
  • Don’t eat raw poultry meat or egg
  • Don’t buy or eat smuggled poultry products
  • Don’t come in contact with transient, wild or migratory birds
  • Don’t go to areas with very large crowds or very poor air circulation
  • Don't release birds or expose them to the wild
  • Don't go to poultry houses, farms, or live poultry markets.
Further, Bernales differentiated bird flu from newcastle disease (NCD), locally known as "rabia," which affected some avian species in the region last year.

"Lab tests can confirm if the bird is affected by bird flu or NCD," she clarified.

"Bicol has had no history of a bird flu outbreak," Bernales said.

Meanwhile, as regards the migratory birds which are spotted in several parts of the region mostly during December to March, Bernales said they are employing a "no-touch policy."

The office is also conducting surveillance of domestic birds twice a year.

Asked about the upcoming derbies and cockfighting events this September in Bicol, Bernales said cockers should be prudent not to bring fighting cocks from the bird flu-affected areas.

Organizers of cockfighting activities should also screen the fighting cocks so as not to allow the spread of the dreaded virus.

"This is a concern not only of the Department of Agriculture, but also of the Philippine National Police and the local government units," Bernales said, urging the media to help in spreading information about bird flu.