August 5, 2003

 

 

Philippines Plans Mass Vaccinations To Contain Newcastle Disease

 

In the Philippines, incidence of Newcastle Disease occurs mainly in backyard poultry farms.

 

It accounts for 57 percent of total mortality in backyard-raised flocks and the threat of the disease crossing over to commercial poultry is ever present.

 

Infected birds have less than 50- percent chance of survival. Studies showed that Newcastle may cause the industry an estimated loss of P6 billion a year, if nothing is done to prevent and control it.

 

Recently, the Department of Agriculture announced its intention to reduce the incidence of the Newcastle Disease in backyard farms by 50 percent by 2007.

 

Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. said that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) will co-ordinate the mass vaccination of all susceptible chicken and birds, monitoring and surveillance, implementation of quarantine measures and mobilization of public support through intensive information campaigns.

 

Lorenzo said the agriculture department initially targets to reduce the incidence of the disease in backyard farms by at least 20 percent.

 

The first and second phases of the campaign will last from August to December 2003. 300 blood samples will be collected from each of the 213 provinces in the first phase and 243 provinces in the second phase.

 

For the third phase, blood samples will be collected from provinces with high incidence of Newcastle Disease.

 

The campaign will focus on identifying the source of infection, isolate the variant virus and determine the extent of the outbreak.

 

Laboratory tests on blood samples collected will be done in the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic laboratories and the Philippine Animal Health Center inside the BAI compound in Quezon City.

 

Newcastle Disease was first identified in the Philippines in 1927.

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