LEGAZPI City---More than 70 livestock inspectors, representatives of private poultry companies and government agencies, media men and veterinarians assured the public that there is no bird flu in the province of Albay as they took part in the ceremonial eating of fried chicken and “balut” during the Avian Influenza Protection Program Stakeholders Forum held recently in this city.

However, this is not a reason to be complacent. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Bicol representative Ma. Cristina A. De Los Santos, there are risk areas in the Bicol Region that are being closely monitored by their office because these serve as a resting, feeding and breeding areas of migratory birds which are possible carriers of the Avian Influenza Virus.

In Sorsogon, the risk areas include the municipalities of Bulan, Matnog, Prieto Diaz, Malawlalawan Island in Castilla, and Pilar Egret Bowl in Sacnagan, Pilar; in Camarines Sur, the wetlands in Cabusao, Magarao and Calabanga and the lakes of Baao and Buhi; in Albay, the wetlands in Polangui, Oas and Libon; in Masbate are the Wildlife Sanctuary of Chico and Naro in Cawayan and the Bongsanglay Natural Park in Royroy, Batuan; in Catanduanes are the wetlands in San Andres and Panganiban; and all the wetlands in Camarines Norte.

 

According to Albay Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Florencio F. Adonay, there is no available vaccine for the virus because of its rapid mutation of a new strain, thus, the recommendation will always be depopulation of the birds.

Adonay cited the case of the United States of America where they were able to contain the spread of the virus in six months. Upon the detection of the virus, all birds within the one-kilometer zone were depopulated. Then, all birds or poultry products within the seven-kilometer control area were prohibited to be transported outside the area.

According to Regional Animal Health Program Coordinator and Avian Influenza Focal Person Dr. Rona P. Bernales, poultry layers and quails easily contracted the virus due to lack of Newcastle Disease (NCD) vaccine. Since NCD and AI are closely-related, Bernales advised all poultry owners to have their layers and quails be vaccinated against NCD.

Bernales also disclosed that it was Avian Influenza subtype H5N6 that affected the poultry animals in San Luis, Pampanga. This subtype came from migratory birds from China.
At present, the Regional AI Task Force are conducting the following activities---Biosecurity and Disinfection, Isolation and Quarantine, Reporting and Surveillance, Depopulation and Disposal, and Information and Education.

Albay Provincial Health Officer Dr. Antonio Ludovice said that the Avian Flu can spread rapidly because it is a kind of flu. At present, there is no case of human victim of Bird Flu in Albay. The H1N1 and H1N6 AI strains can be transmitted by infected birds to humans.

Avian Influenza is a highly contagious viral disease caused by an Influenza A Orthomyxovirus and normally being carried by wild aquatic birds (wild ducks, geese, swans, gulls, shorebirds, terns) in their respiratory or intestinal tracts but do not usually get sick. The affected animals include Poultry (chickens, turkeys, quail), water fowls (ducks, geese, swans), pet birds, and migratory birds. However, the virus can be isolated from mammals like rats, mice, pigs, cats, dogs, horses and humans. The incubation period to an affected bird is a few hours or a few days and up to two weeks in flocks. (jaysonmgonzales)

Albay Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Florencio F. Adonay warns the participants that there is no available vaccine for the Avian Influenza virus because of its rapid mutation to a new strain and it is always recommended that once the flock is infected with the virus, depopulation should be employed, just like the case in the United States of America.

Regional Animal Health Program Coordinator and Avian Influenza Focal Person Dr. Rona P. Bernales discusses the Avian Influenza: Overview in Animals Disease.

Albay Provincial Health Officer Dr. Antonio Ludovice discusses the possible bird transmission to humans especially the H1N1 and H1N6 strains. He said that there is no case of bird flu human victim in Albay.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Bicol representative Ma. Cristina A. De Los Santos says that there are risk areas in the Bicol Region that are being closely monitored by their office because it serves as a resting, feeding and breeding areas of migratory birds which are possible carriers of the Avian Influenza Virus.

DA-Bicol Regional Livestock and Poultry Program Coordinator Dr. Josefina U. Bañadera discusses the various activities of the Avian Influenza Protection Program of the Bicol Region.

The Bureau of Animal Industry-Regional Veterinary Quarantine Officer Dr. Emmanuel Villafuerte presents the updates, activities and reports on Quarantine Rules and Regulations.

Livestock inspectors, representatives of private poultry companies and government agencies, media men and veterinarians eat fried chicken and “balut” to assure the public that it is safe to eat poultry products during the Avian Influenza Protection Program Stakeholders Forum.