February 26, 2024


Philippines reports decrease in avian influenza cases



The Philippines Department of Agriculture (DA) has announced a decline in the number of provinces affected by avian influenza (AI) subtype H5N1, with only nine provinces currently impacted, and no new cases reported since the beginning of 2024, The Manila Times reported.


According to a statement from the DA, the affected provinces include Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Laguna, Sultan Kudarat, Kalinga, Cagayan, and Bataan. Previously, there were ten affected provinces, including Benguet.


In a memorandum circular issued on February 13, 2024, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr officially cleared Benguet province from the bird flu outbreak after completing 90 days of disinfection operations and surveillance, yielding negative bird flu results.


The initial cases of H5N1 infections were detected in various fowl species between February and September 2022 in several areas. The DA attributed Benguet's clearance from avian disease to swift depopulation, cleaning, and disinfection measures, alongside mobility restrictions and intensified surveillance near affected farms.


As of February 9, the Bureau of Animal Industry identified 66 municipalities across six regions affected by bird flu, with no reported cases of HPAI since the onset of 2024.


Last November, the Agriculture department authorised the commercial use of AI vaccines following the issuance of vaccination guidelines aimed at curbing the disease's spread. The DA has outlined procedures for vaccine acquisition and prioritised zones for vaccination campaigns.


-      The Manila Times

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