Negros Occidental watching migratory birds to stop avian flu spread
BACOLOD CITY—The Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) in Negros Occidental is keeping a close watch into the presence of migratory birds in the province to prevent the spread of avian influenza, or bird flu.
Bird flu can infect domestic poultry, other animals and even humans, said Dr. Placeda Lemana, provincial veterinarian.
The close monitoring has to be done as Negros Occidental has an P8-billion poultry industry and is among the top poultry-producing provinces in the country, officials said.
“We continue to monitor the migratory birds in Sipalay (City), which has become a landing site. Now that it is the winter season in other countries, they would usually flock here from December to February,” she said.
Migratory birds, Lemana said, would usually arrive in the Philippines in December until February, when it is winter in other countries.
The provincial veterinarian said they were not only checking on the migratory birds seen in Sipalay City, which is believed to be a family of herons, but have also taken blood samples on some of the birds as a safety precaution.
In the past, Lemana said migratory birds were usually spotted in the town of San Enrique and the cities of Himamaylan and Bago but now they usually go to Sipalay City.
In early November, a flock of migratory birds were also spotted in the village of Suay in Himamaylan.
According to Lemana, they have to ensure the migratory birds were not avian-flu carriers as Negros Occidental would not even allow the entry of eggs and poultry from areas in Luzon and Mindanao that have active cases of bird flu.
“There is no vaccine against bird flu,” Lemana pointed out.
Avian influenza A viruses are very contagious among birds, and some of these viruses can sicken and even kill certain domesticated bird species, including chickens and ducks.
For about a year now, the provincial government has been prohibiting the entry of live birds and poultry products, such as meat and eggs but allows day-old chicks and hatching eggs, including broiler, layer and breeder, with veterinary health certificate and certification issued by the OPV.
This is to safeguard the poultry industry as well as to protect the general public from the effects of the bird flu disease. INQ