July 2, 2018
Philippines officially bird flu-free again
The Philippines is now officially free of bird flu again, almost a year after it was hit by the H5N6 strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza.
The Southeast Asian nation regained its bird flu-free status after the publication of its "self-declaration" report on the website of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Thursday, June 28, the BusinessMirror reported.
The Philippines submitted its fifth and final follow-up report to the OIE on June 27, some 10 months after it confirmed the bird flu outbreak in the major egg-producing provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija on Luzon island on Aug. 7, 2017. However, the disease outbreak started as early as July 24, 2017, in two poultry farms in San Luis municipality in Pampanga. It was the first avian influenza outbreak in the country in 10 years.
"There are no new outbreaks…," the final report read. "The event is resolved. No more reports will be submitted."
The report indicated that the bird flu outbreaks that hit quail and layer farms in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija was resolved on March 9.
The Philippines recorded four bird-flu outbreaks in July to November, which resulted in the deaths of 73,357 birds. The government culled a total of 407,840 susceptible birds in San Luis, Pampanga, and the municipalities of Jaen, San Isidro and Cabiao in Nueva Ecija, the Philippines reported, according to the BusinessMirror.
The publication of Manila's report on its AI status means local producers could now resume the export of Philippine poultry.
Because of the AI outbreak in August 2017, several countries including South Korea, Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have banned Philippine poultry imports.
Being bird flu-free, the Philippines would request these countries to lift the import ban imposed on local poultry, according to Florence D. Silvano, chief of the national veterinary quarantine services division of the Bureau of Animal Industry.