November 10, 2017
Philippines officially bird flu again by yearend
The Philippines is confident it will regain its bird flu-free status by yearend, more than four months after it was hit by the H5 strain of the avian flu virus.
Concerned officials said that since the bird-flu outbreak hit egg-producing provinces in Central Luzon in early August, there has been no case reported.
Ronnie D. Domingo, officer in charge of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), said that the Paris-based OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health)recognises a country as bird flu-free once it does not report any new outbreaks 90 days after the last disinfection of affected areas. In the case of the Philippines, it will be on Dec. 20.
As early as September, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol declared that the country's bird-flu crisis was over. The August outbreak was the first in at least 10 years.
Domingo said that they intend to send an official report to OIE by Dec. 20 that states the Philippines is already bird flu-free.
"We will inform them (OIE) that we have already conducted disinfection procedures and have controlled the movement of animals," Domingo was quoted as saying by the Business Mirror.
"The OIE does not give official recognition. What is important is that we report to them 90 days after our last disinfection so that our report will come out in the OIE database that the Philippines is already cleared of the AI (avian influenza)," he explained.
Domingo also said the government was set to deploy sentinel birds in affected farms in Jaen and San Isidro towns in Nueva Ecija province, and in San Luis, Pampanga, this week.
"The 35-day observation period would start once the sentinel birds have been deployed. The deployment of sentinel birds is part of our interventions to ensure that an area is totally free of avian influenza," he said.
The sentinel birds, which will be grown and observed in the affected areas, must test negative for bird flu to ensure that the area is free from the virus.