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Palace calls for calm, vigilance amid bird flu

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arirish View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 14 2017 at 8:52am
Palace calls for calm, vigilance amid bird flu

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang appealed yesterday to the people to exercise vigilance but remain calm following the outbreak of bird flu in San Luis, Pampanga.




Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement yesterday, “We ask our people to remain calm yet vigilant. Any person living or residing in affected areas or who had been exposed to dead chickens who becomes sick with flu or flu-like illness, such as fever and/or sore throat/cough, should immediately report to their local health center or nearest hospital for laboratory test.”

The Palace said an intensified surveillance for flu-like syndromes is now enforced in Pampanga within a seven-kilometer radius of the affected farms.


Abella also appealed for calm and sobriety among the population.

“As of this time, there has been no report of bird-to-human contamination,” Abella
said a day after the Department of Agriculture announced plans to cull 400,000 chickens, quail and ducks after confirming the first outbreak of bird flu in the country.

“The Department of Health (DOH) assures our people that avian flu is transferred via respiratory routes. Properly cooked chicken meat and eggs remain safe to eat,” he added.

According to Abella, the government has coordinated efforts to ensure that the situation is under control.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Pampanga following the confirmation of avian flu outbreak yesterday by the Department of Agriculture (DA),” he said.

On Friday, DA reported the outbreak of bird flu in San Luis, Pampanga – the first in the Philippines – resulting in the burning of almost 40,000 chickens. Six poultry farms are affected in Barangays San Carlos and Santa Rita.






According to Abella, the government has coordinated efforts to ensure that the situation is under control.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Pampanga following the confirmation of avian flu outbreak yesterday by the Department of Agriculture (DA),” he said.

On Friday, DA reported the outbreak of bird flu in San Luis, Pampanga – the first in the Philippines – resulting in the burning of almost 40,000 chickens. Six poultry farms are affected in Barangays San Carlos and Santa Rita.

The DA is eyeing two possible sources of infections – the migratory birds from China that flock to the Candaba swamp in Pampanga and smuggled Peking ducks.

In 1997, human infections with H5N1 virus were reported during an outbreak in poultry in Hong Kong and the disease has since spread to Europe and Africa until 2013.

Human infection with H7H9 was also documented in China in 2013.

Abella said the DOH is assisting the DA for bird flu investigation and containment activities, which include flu vaccinations and protective equipment for poultry handlers and responders.

With the outbreak in Pampanga, the DOH has advised all medical workers to be on the look out for possible symptoms when attending to patients.

In a statement, the DOH said, “In the interim, all health providers should observe respiratory precautions when taking care of patients with flu or flu-like illness.”

“A team of DOH epidemiologists has been dispatched to assist the DA in the outbreak investigation. The DOH has alerted hospitals in the affected areas to report similar cases,” the agency said.

The DOH said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has the capacity to confirm bird flu infections among humans and that they have adequate supply of anti-flu medication and commodities whenever regional health offices and hospital will require these.

The agency is coordinating with the DA and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent human infection.

According to Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, people should properly and thoroughly cook chicken to ensure it is safe for human consumption.

Ubial advised the public to see a doctor if they have flu symptoms that last longer than three days or if they feel very weak.

She also cautioned against going near wild birds or to farms with fowl.

Based on the WHO website, humans could be infected with avian and other zoonotic influenza viruses, such as avian influenza virus subtypes A(H5N1), A(H7N9) and A(H9N2) and swine influenza virus subtypes A(H1N1) and (H3N2).

The common initial symptoms for H5N1 and H7N9 are “high fever (greater than or equal to 38°C) and cough. The signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract involvement including dyspnoea or difficulty breathing have been reported.”

On the other hand, upper respiratory tract symptoms like sore throat or coryza are less common. Other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, and chest pain have also been reported in the clinical course of some patients.

Complications of infection include hypoxemia, multiple organ dysfunction and secondary bacterial and fungal infections.

For H5N1 virus infections in humans, the incubation period runs from two to five days and ranging up to 17 days. For H7N9 virus, incubation period ranges from one to 10 days, with an average of five days.

The website shows that 859 cases of bird flu in humans have been recorded in 16 countries, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Quarantine checkpoints

The Provincial Veterinary Office of Pangasinan has set up over 200 quarantine checkpoints in strategic areas in the province to prevent the possible contamination of the local poultry industry by the avian flu outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga.

Eric Perez, provincial veterinarian, told The STAR that the quarantine checkpoints in Aloo in Umingan, Carmen in Rosales, Bakit-bakit in Rosales, Bayambang, Mangatarem, Infanta, San Fabian and Sison would monitor the transport of chickens to Pangasinan from Pampanga.

Perez could not immediately provide the number of poultry farms in Pangasinan, but he said millions of chickens are transported from the province and are brought to dressing plants in Bulacan and Pampanga every week.

He will coordinate with other concerned agencies for the intensified quarantine checkpoints and monitoring in Pangasinan. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Eva Visperas


http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/08/13/1728355/palace-calls-calm-vigilance-amid-bird-flu
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote arirish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2017 at 8:58am
Culling operations slow down as workers flee and farmers protest

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 14) — There has been little progress in the culling of birds affected by the avian influenza outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga, with workers backing out over fear of infection.

Less than 10 percent of the 200,000 birds estimated to be infected by the virus have been exterminated as of Monday, when the government had expected culling to have ended, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said.

Only 18,685 birds have been culled, and only four of 17 farms hit by the virus have been disinfected, Piñol said in a news briefing.

The Department of Agriculture now expects to finish culling operations by Thursday, almost a week after the outbreak was announced.

Misinformation on virus

Manpower has been the biggest problem for the culling operations. "It was reported to me that after workers were briefed and immunized, some tried to run away," Pinol said.

Only five workers were left of the 30 recruited for culling operations, said Arlene Vytiaco, who oversees disease control for the Bureau of Animal Industry. Many of them feared they would catch the virus or be forced to undergo quarantine.

"There is so much misinformation. If we had more people, we would make faster progress," Vytiaco said.

Strict measures in place

Beyond the 200,000 birds to be exterminated, the movement of birds, chicks, eggs, poultry and other products has been severely restricted - not just in and around the province of Pampanga, but across Luzon.

Piñol admitted there has been strong resistance from farmers, who have had to give up their livestock.

They will likely have to wait another three months before they can start populating their farms again.

After the culling, there will be a 21-day rest period before they can bring in a new batch of birds. These will be raised for 35 days and subjected to various tests to see if they exhibit symptoms of the avian flu. If they pass the tests and are free from the virus, only then can they be harvested and bred.

The agriculture chief, however, shrugged off the opposition, saying he will not risk a contagion.

"Halimbawa lumabas ito ng Luzon… hindi ko na kayang pigilan 'yan. Kapag kumalat ito ng Visayas and Mindanao dahil sa kapabayaan ko, magre-resign ako," Pinol said.

[Translation: If this spreads outside of Luzon, for example… I will not be able to stop it anymore. If it spreads to Visayas and Mindanao because of my negligence, I will resign.]

Assistance to farmers

Meanwhile, farmers sought the help of the DA, claiming it wasn't just culling their birds, it was also killing their businesses.

The government said it will allot P50 million to get farmers back on their feet again. Farmers will receive P80 for every bird they've lost to the culling. They will also get a P5,000 grant and are entitled to a P20,000 low-interest, no-collateral loan, payable over two years.

A biosecurity team will also be created under the DA. It will check that all farms handling livestock conform to basic safety practices, like foot baths and truck tire baths to prevent the spread of diseases.

http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/08/14/Culling-operations-slow-down.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 15 2017 at 4:43am
Interesting, in lack of information / training causing the 'workers' to run away, and so delay the culling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 15 2017 at 11:09am
This is why an emergent avian influenza virus is likely to burst forth out of Asia. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arirish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 15 2017 at 4:35pm
Two farm workers isolated for possible bird flu human transmission in northern Luzon

Twelve quarantine stations have been set up in affected areas

Manila: Two workers in farms that were hit by flu virus in central Luzon starting April have been isolated after showing flu — like symptoms, health officials said.

“One has been coughing and the other has a fever. They have been isolated in a hospital for close monitoring. Results of tests conducted on them will be released Wednesday,” said Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said on Tuesday.

Earlier, Health Secretary Roselyn Ubial said only those who are exposed to the farms and fowls in San Luis are being monitored for cases of chicken-to-human transmission of bird flu virus.

Twelve quarantine stations have been set up in affected areas. It will take 90 days for them to be declared free of bird flu, Ubial said, adding that flu vaccines could not protect humans against the bird flu virus, but could guard against flu mutation once a person was infected of bird flu.

A series of test has confirmed that H5 avian influenza, not the H7 bird flu strain, hit the farms in San Carlos and Sta Rita villages, of San Luis town, Pampanga. There has been no animal-to-human transmission of the disease yet, confirmed Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

The agriculture department began culling chickens, ducks, game fowl, and quail through carbon dioxide suffocation, in San Carlos and Sta. Rita villages, San Luis town on Saturday. A total of 400,000 birds would be culled, Piñol estimated.

Policemen and agriculture authorities have also imposed checks on all exit and entry points in 12 towns in Pampanga provinces. The transport of poultry products from five villages in three towns of Pampanga such as Mexico, San Luis, Sta. Ana has been strictly prohibited.

The agriculture department is also investigating the source of the disease — whether it was brought by migratory birds or by ducks smuggled from China.

Governor Lilia Pineda has placed the entire Pampanga province under a state of calamity following the outbreak of avian flu. This could mean P2 billion (Dh166 million) loss for the poultry sector, but poultry owners affected by the bird flu virus will be compensated, she added.

Pampanga is one of the major sources of poultry products sold in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

A report on the country’s bird flu outbreak will be submitted to the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health.

A poultry owner reported the deaths of at least 15,000 quail birds in San Carlos village in April and May. The disease has killed a total of 37.000 fowls since April.

Bird flu viruses have spread in Europe and Africa in recent months. The H7N9 strain has led to transmission to human cases, including fatalities, in China.

http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/philippines/two-farm-workers-isolated-for-possible-bird-flu-human-transmission-in-northern-luzon-1.2074664
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