Published: Saturday 12 August, 2017

Bird Flu Strikes Pampanga Chicken, Ducks Farms; Thousands to be Slaughtered

The first outbreak of bird flu in the Philippines has been confirmed. Bird flu has been confirmed in several Pampanga chicken, duck and quail farms, and hundreds of thousands of birds are set to be slaughtered. A bird flu quarantine has also been set up in several Pampanga towns.

bird flu outbreak Pampanga Philippines

Bird flu outbreak in Pampanga town in the Philippines confirmed. (Photo via ky3.com)

The Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed the first ever bird flu outbreak in the Philippines. The outbreak was discovered after thousands of chicken suddenly died in a farm in the town of San Luis.

The chicken farm owner did not initially report the deaths and tried to self-medicate but this resulted to the spread of bird flu to other areas. The DA is considering filing charges against the farm owner for failing to report the incident.

“This is a critical problem because this is the first time that avian flu occurred in our country. Hopefully, we can control (the disease),” said DA secretary Manny Piñol.

H5 Bird Flu Strain

Tests done on chickens, ducks and quails at the farms in San Luis, Pampanga confirmed the presence of the H5 strain of bird flu. But the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) said the fowls tested negative for the more contagious H5N1 strain of bird flu which can be fatal to humans.

The DA said they delayed the announcement of the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga so that proper quarantine could be set up. This prevented unscrupulous farmers and individuals from taking out infected birds from the affected areas. Check points have now been set up in Barangay San Carlos in San Luis town. Entry and exit of any kind of fowl is strictly prohibited.

The department is also checking how the bird flu entered the country. One possible way is via migratory birds that flocked to Candaba Swamp near San Luis. Another area being looked at is the importation of exotic birds.

Pampanga State of Calamity Due to Bird Flu

The governor of Pampang, Lilia Pineda, has already declared a state of calamity in the whole province due to the bird flu outbreak. This would also enable LUGs to institute preventive measures in areas still not affected by the outbreak. One of these is by quarantine which, according to the DA, should be at least 90 days.

Meanwhile, aside from the farm owner who may face criminal charges for keeping the bird flu infection under wraps, the government is also looking at local veterinarians who may have helped the farmers hide the bird flu outbreak.