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Live poultry in Nueva Ecija town tests positive for Avian flu

MANILA, Philippines – Live sample quails from a farm in Jaen town of Nueva Ecija tested positive for the H5N6 Avian flu after being examined by veterinary and quarantine officials, the Department of Agriculture (DA) revealed on Monday.

According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the live quails were taken from a farm in Barangay Ulanin-Pitak, after the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) of Nueva Ecija reported that 1,500 out of 15,000 quails in the farm recently died.

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“We would like to mention publicly and declare that we, from the Department of Agriculture, confirms the detection of H5N6, highly pathogenic Avian influenza in Barangay Ulanin-Pitak, Jaen, Nueva Ecija,” Dar said in a press briefing.

“The (PVO) of Nueva Ecija received reports of increased mortalities of 1,500 out of 15,000 quails in one farm last March 9, 2019 […] In March 13, 30 live quails were submitted by PVO to the Regional Animal Disease diagnostic laboratory for testing of Avian influenza, the samples tested positive through realtime polymerase chain reaction test,” he added.

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While highly infectious to poultry species, the Bureau of Animal Industry assured consumers that depopulation and surveillance activities were already put in place to mitigate the spread of the said bird virus.

A total of 12,000 head of quails were depopulated and buried on March 14, while cleaning and disinfection were also implemented. Some 3,000 quails were said to have died from the virus.

Dar said that DA offices have also already conducted disease prevention measures to prevent the spread of the Avian flu.

“Surveillance around the 1-kilometer and 7-km radius will be carried out immediately to ensure that the disease has not progressed around the said perimeter. Animal quarantine checkpoints have also been established to restrict the movement of all live domestic birds to and from the 1-km radius quarantine area,” Dar said.

“The PVO along with the Jaen municipal agricultural office, the regional field office III and veterinary quarantine service conducted immediate disease control measures to mitigate the spread of H5N6,” he added.

So as not to disrupt the supply of poultry, DA said the transport of day-old chicks, hatching eggs and chicken meat will be allowed provided that the source farms have tested negative for avian influenza.

Dar said that in all the H5N6 cases in the Philippines, the virus from the poultry has not been transferred to humans.

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The H5N6 virus belongs to the family of the Influenza A virus or sometimes called “Bird Flu.”  This affects poultry products such as chicken, quails, and other fowl livestock.

“The highly pathogenic Avian influenza is a disease of poultry that can affect humans.  However, the H5N6 which affected the Philippines […] has not affected humans in the country.  Globally, there have been only four cases of human infections, and all of these were reported in China,” Dar noted.

“Following the Asian influenza protection manual of procedures, a total of 12,000 eggs were surgically stamped out and buried last March 14, 2020.  Cleaning and disinfection were implemented accordingly,” he added.

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TAGS: avian flu, Bird flu, DA, Department of Agriculture, H5N6, Jaen, Nueva Ecija, Philippine news updates
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