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DA expert: Bird flu strain in Pampanga is transmissible to humans

/ 02:36 PM August 24, 2017
Bird Flu San Luis Pampanga Philippines

A soldier checks his personal protective equipment before he is sent to a poultry farm in San Luis, Pampanga, to help cull birds infected by the avian influenza virus. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The avian influenza that hit the province of San Luis, Pampanga tested positive for the H5N6 strain, which will make the virus transmissible to humans.

READ: DA to cull 200K fowls as PH reports first case of avian flu

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In a press conference of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the head of the Bureau of Animal Industry’s (BAI) Animal Disease Control Section, Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, said samples of tissues and oral swabs sent to Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) already underwent confirmatory tests.

Vytiaco said the N6 strain should not be confused with the N1 strain that struck China in 2003, most commonly known as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

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Although transmissible to humans, Vytiaco emphasized that the transmission and mortality rate is “very, very low.”

The department will not be sending samples to AAHL from the towns of Jaen and San Isidro in Nueva Ecija which were also affected by the virus. Vytiaco explained that it is “most likely” that it will have the same strain found in Pampanga.

READ: Bird flu virus slips into 2 Nueva Ecija towns

Despite the report, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol assured the public that all poultry and poultry products in the market are safe to eat.

As of today, there are no reported cases of animal-to-human transmissions. JPV

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TAGS: avian flu, bird flu outbreak, Department of Agriculture, H5N6 strain, Pampanga, transmissible to human
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