The provincial government of Bohol has banned the entry of poultry products from Luzon after a confirmed bird flu outbreak in Pampanga forced the Department of Agriculture to declare the place under a state of calamity and tighten ways in preventing the virus from spreading farther outside the contaminated places.
Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, alarmed of the possible entry of contaminated poultry products from Luzon that might harm the poultry industry in Bohol, has formed a special task force that will monitor and ensure the strict implementation of the ban.
“We need to protect our local stock from possible contamination,” Chattosaid concerning the ban move.
In a text message to The Bohol Tribune yesterday, Chatto said the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian (OPV) and the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPV) have been instructed to enforce the necessary measures in order to protect the poultry industry of Bohol and safeguard health of the Boholano people.
“We need a task force to meet head-on the potential problem thru policies that we can quickly implement and monitor compliance,” the governor said. “The task force needs to oversee strict implementation of both national and local guidelines to protect Bohol’s own industry from being affected.”
“Appropriate and quick regulation is necessary through constant monitoring by experts in the industry,” Chatto said.
With the ban, the governor said, the integrity in the quality of “our locally produced chicken will ensure sustained market for our small farm backyard products to the large chicken farms in Bohol.”
The governor directed provincial veterinarian Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz to coordinate with all concerned agencies in strictly implementing the DA ban.
The ban is on the movement of domesticated and wild birds, including poultry products, to the Visayas and Mindanao from Luzon, where the bird flu has plagued large-scale commercial poultry farms.
Quarantine inspectors have been urged to be vigilant and effect necessary precautionary measures.
Further, Chatto directed Provincial Legal Officer John Mitchel Boiser, also the acting provincial administrator, to coordinate in securing compliance from all agencies involved.
Created by an executive order issued by the governor on Thursday, the bird flu task force would have to meet quickly so that its law enforcement members, like the police, can help in apprehending when necessary.
Chatto would want information materials on bird flu to be ready not just to guide the task force members but the Boholano public in general.
STATE OF CALAMITY
Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda on Friday declared the province under a state of calamity over the outbreak of avian flu virus in her province.
Pineda said the move aims to help the affected local government units (LGUs) fund preventive measures for the virus.
In a meeting with Pampanga officials, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol estimated the number of dead fowls at 37,000 out of the 194,000 population in the province as of August 4, this year.
“It is with sadness and great concern that the Department of Agriculture is confirming the outbreak of Avian influenza in the town of San Luis [Pampanga]. We have already made a series of tests confirming the type of Avian Influenza that hit San Luis town is H5,” said Pinol.
He declared that all fowls in the one-kilometer radius epicenter in San Luis will be culled and buried. Estimated to be affected are around 200,000 birds, chickens, quails, and ducks.
Culling would be done in five farms of layers and four farms of quails in Barangay San Carlos and four farms of ducks in nearby Barangay Sta. Rita for a total of 132, 500 heads, Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) focal person for avian flu control, said.
The culling method, agriculture authorities said, goes like this: the fowls will be placed in container vans and poisoned with carbon dioxide.The birds will then be buried in a single farm.
Piñol said no eggs could be brought out from the areas as 12 quarantine teams are now guarding the exit points of San Luis, all equipped with power sprays to disinfect all vehicles coming out of the said town.
Piñol even ordered a ban on the transport of poultry from Central Luzon to control the outbreak.
Senior Supt. Joel Consulta, Pampanga police director, said nine checkpoints have been established in San Luis town alone.
The secretary, in a meeting with affected livestock owners in the area, agreed to compensate for the birds that would be culled at a rate of about PHP80 per head.
He also called on other LGU executives in other province to implement quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the flu.
BIRD FLU VIRUS EXPLAINED
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a more detailed information on bird flu virus that is helpful for further public awareness. This information is lifted from cdc.gov:
Avian influenza refers to infection of birds with avian influenza Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Wild aquatic birds can be infected with avian influenza A viruses in their intestines and respiratory tract, but usually do not get sick. However, 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, ducks, and turkeys.
Infected birds can shed avian influenza A viruses in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces. Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with the virus as it is shed by infected birds. They also can become infected through contact with surfaces that are contaminated with virus from infected birds.
Avian Influenza in Poultry (Domesticated Birds)
Domesticated birds (chickens, turkeys, etc.) may become infected with avian influenza A viruses through direct contact with infected waterfowl or other infected poultry, or through contact with surfaces that have been contaminated with the viruses.
Infection of poultry with LPAI viruses may cause no disease or mild illness and may only cause mild signs (such as ruffled feathers and a drop in egg production) and may not be detected. Infection of poultry with HPAI viruses can cause severe disease with high mortality. Both HPAI and LPAI viruses can spread rapidly through flocks of poultry. HPAI virus infection in poultry (such as with HPAI H5 or HPAI H7 viruses) can cause disease that affects multiple internal organs with mortality up to 90% to 100%, often within 48 hours. Some ducks can be infected without any signs of illness.
Avian influenza outbreaks are of concern in domesticated birds for several reasons:
– the potential for low pathogenic H5 and H7 viruses to evolve into highly pathogenic viruses
– the potential for rapid spread and significant illness and death among poultry during outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza
– the economic impact and trade restrictions from a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak
– the possibility that avian influenza A viruses could be transmitted to humans
When H5 or H7 avian influenza outbreaks occur in poultry, depopulation (or culling, also called “stamping out”) of infected flocks is usually carried out. In addition surveillance of flocks that are nearby or linked to the infected flock(s), and quarantine of exposed flocks with culling if disease is detected, are the preferred control and eradication methods. (with a report from Edcom and PNA)