Eastern Visayas heightens bird flu watch

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) in Eastern Visayas has activated its Regional Avian Influenza Protection Program Task Force to conduct surveillance and monitoring activities amid the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga.

“The group will also regularly check prices of poultry commodities in the region,” said Andrew Rodolfo Orais, DA regional technical director for operations.

Orais echoed the announcement of temporary ban on movement and transfer of live domestic and wild birds and their products and by-products from Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao in coordination with the Veterinary Quarantine personnel.

As of Tuesday, there has been no report of bird to human contamination in Eastern Visayas.

Malacañang released a statement on the outbreak in Pampanga and asked the citizenry to remain calm, but be extra vigilant.

Heightened surveillance is in effect for flu-like symptoms in Pampanga within the seven-kilometer radius of the affected farms in San Luis, Pampanga.

The agency is conducting series of meetings with regional veterinarians in Tacloban City and getting updates and situationers and instructions from the regional office, Orais said.

This week, the Regional Advisory Committee on Animal Disease Control and Emergency will convene to further discuss activities on the Avian Influenza Protection Program.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol asked the public to help contain the bird flu virus.

“I am calling on all Filipinos to please help government contain this crisis by cleaning up their farms and closely monitoring their chicken for any signs of disease,” Piñol said in a statement posted on social media. (PNA)