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DA: Country now free of avian flu

By: - Reporter / @kocampoINQ
/ 05:01 AM January 20, 2021

The Philippines has finally been declared free of bird flu by the World Organization for Animal Health, more than five months after the country reported its latest outbreak of avian influenza.

In a report, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said the affected farms in Pampanga and Rizal provinces showed no further evidence of the bird flu virus during monitoring and surveillance with the local governments.

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“We had not detected any case of AI A(H5N6) among the poultry and other bird population in the last 90 days after the completion of cleaning and disinfection in the affected farms, surveillance and monitoring, and completion of the 35-day restocking period with sentinel animals in Pampanga and Rizal,” said Ronnie Domingo, who was director of the Bureau of Animal Industry until he moved to another attached agency of the DA recently.

Ecija quail farm

It was in March last year when the DA detected bird flu at a quail farm in Nueva Ecija province. Some 1,500 quails had died while 12,000 others had been culled.

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A new case was later confirmed in Pampanga, which prompted the department to cull another 39,000 birds.

The World Organization for Animal Health, formerly the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), gave the Philippines a bird flu-free status on Jan. 8. Composed of 181 member-countries, including the Philippines, it is an intergovernmental organization responsible for monitoring and improving animal health and welfare worldwide.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar cited the piece of welcome news to the industry, noting that poultry meat, like pork and beef, is a popular source of protein among Filipinos.

COVID-19 crisis

Backyard raisers, however, are more concerned with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic than the animal disease.

Agriculture Undersecretary Kristine Evangelista said prices of chicken in the market slightly rose after some poultry raisers discontinued production to evade the low farmgate prices during the lockdowns last year.

The COVID-19 crisis led to the closure of many food establishments that eventually caused a glut as local and imported stocks piled up.

Nonetheless, the DA reminded poultry raisers to remain vigilant and report any unusual mortalities in their farms to avoid another outbreak.

The latest price monitoring by the DA showed that a kilo of chicken was being sold at an average of P180, while an egg cost P6.50. INQ

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TAGS: avian flu, Department of Agriculture
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