Prevent human infection with Avian Influenza

Authorities in Negros Oriental are on the alert to prevent human infection with Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu, as more cases have been reported in neighboring countries in South East Asia.

Solomon Cadiz, office-in-charge of the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) said on Thursday that a team from the Department of Agriculture, the Provincial Health Office and the PVO is scheduled in November to visit high-risk areas in Negros Oriental and collect blood samples from fowls, such as ducks and chickens, for laboratory testing for the avian influenza H5N1 virus.

Cadiz, however, reiterated that the Philippines remains to be one of the few countries in South East Asia that have not reported a single confirmed case of avian influenza.

As of October 10, 2011, the World Health Organization has reported in its web site that 556 laboratory confirmed human cases of avian influenza infection with 332 deaths since the first case was reported in 2003.

The WHO has reported of 208 cases of human infection with avian influenza and 164 deaths in the WHO South-East Asia region, to include Indonesia which has recently reported two confirmed cases of the H5N1 virus. The Philippines is classified as part of the WHO’s Western Pacific region.

The high risk areas in Negros Oriental to be visited for blood sampling of domestic poultry include Siaton, Tanjay, Amlan, Manjuyod, Bais and Canlaon, said Cadiz.

These areas either have vast rice fields with large populations of ducks or chickens, or are regularly visited by wild migratory birds from other countries that are on a seasonal journey to escape the cold weather during winter.

The provincial veterinarian has advised poultry farmers to watch out for bird flu symptoms, especially if their fowls come into contact with migratory birds.

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