PH on alert vs bird flu as another outbreak reported in China | Inquirer News

PH on alert vs bird flu as another outbreak reported in China

/ 04:56 AM February 04, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Government efforts are being maintained to keep the Philippines free from avian flu, after another reported outbreak in China, this time of a “highly pathogenic” strain of the H5N1 type of bird flu, or avian influenza.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported on Saturday an outbreak of the H5N1 strain at a farm in Shaoyang City in the province of Hunan, some 400 kilometers south of Hubei province and 630 km northwest of Hong Kong.

The new coronavirus began spreading in Wuhan, Hubei province, in December.


Authorities have culled 17,828 poultry, following the reported outbreak.


Also last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned against an increase in bird flu outbreaks among poultry and wild birds in Europe.

“It is important that people take protective steps and avoid contact with sick and dead birds or contaminated environments,”the WHO said in an advisory.

‘Human cases’

According to the WHO, “human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60 percent.”

“Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments,”the WHO said.

But it noted that the “virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual. There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly prepared and thoroughly cooked food.”

Among the symptoms of H5N1 infection are high fever, diarrhea and difficulty in breathing.



Haribon Foundation said among the migratory bird havens in the Philippines are the Buguey Wetlands in Cagayan province, Candaba Swamp in Pampanga, Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area along Manila Bay, Naujan Lake in Mindoro, Olango Island in Cebu, and Agusan Marsh in Agusan del Sur.

At a press briefing on Monday, Director Ronnie Domingo of the Bureau of Animal Industry pointed out, “Just last year, we tested around 9,000 samples from critical areas [nationwide], which are landing areas of migratory birds.”

“It is through these areas that avian flu may enter the Philippines considering that we have issued bans on poultry and poultry products from countries where there are incidences of avian flu,” he also said.

According to the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE (Office International des Epizooties), H5N1 was initially diagnosed in humans in Hong Kong in 1997.

“The virus then reemerged in 2003 and 2004, and spread from Asia to Europe and Africa causing several hundred human cases and deaths, as well as destruction of hundreds of millions of poultry,” the OIE said.

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“This Asiatic form of H5N1 triggered concern from scientists and authorities and remains under close surveillance due to its feared pandemic potential if a mutation allows it to be transmitted from human to human,”it added. —With reports from the wires

TAGS: avian flu, H5N1

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