Gov’t vets track down virus affecting poultry farms
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Government veterinarians are checking reports that poultry farms in several provinces in Luzon have been struck by the airborne Newcastle disease virus (NDV), a highly contagious and often severe disease affecting birds and fowl.
Evidence of NDV has been found in Pangasinan and Tarlac provinces, though officials say it has yet to strike commercial poultry farms. They say NDV, also known as Avian pest, has a vaccine.
Avian pest has a high mortality rate and can wipe out a poultry farm in 24 hours. Exposure of humans to infected fowl can cause mild conjunctivitis and influenza-like symptoms, but otherwise, NDV poses no hazard to human health, veterinarians say.
Dr. Eric Perez, provincial veterinarian, said sporadic NDV cases had been reported in Pangasinan in the past week, especially among game fowl raisers.
Livestock inspectors have been deployed to determine the extent of infestation in the province, Perez said. He met with Bureau of Animal Industry officials who alerted him on the spread of the disease in Central Luzon.
Dr. Maria Lorna Baculanta, Tarlac provincial veterinarian, said NDV had already been contained in her province. “We have been distributing vaccines to backyard raisers, who are the most affected by this disease,” she said.
Her office has no record of NDV striking commercial poultry farms, she said. The vaccination programs of these private enterprises may have shielded their fowl from the disease, she added.
Baculanta said 618 fighting cocks had died since the disease was first reported in Tarlac last December after Typhoon “Nona” hit southern and central Luzon.
Dr. George Bandong, Calasiao municipal veterinarian, said 12 fighting cocks had died in the town.
“But we have been receiving text messages from several [game fowl] raisers about their sick fighting cocks. They have been [providing] us details on [the ailment, which features] the same symptoms of the NDV,” he said.
Perez said the disease last struck Pangasinan 15 years ago.
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