DA-7 probes deaths of 32 chickens in Dumaguete City
The Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7) yesterday ordered an investigation into reports that 32 chickens from different backyard farms in Dumaguete City had died over the last few days.
Melquiades Ibarra, the information officer of DA-7, said they have not received formal report yet on the incident but they would want it investigated immediately as a precautionary measure particularly in the wake of the avian flu virus that has affected poultry farms in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol yesterday revealed that the Australian Animal Health Laboratory has confirmed the bird flu virus that affected the poultry farms in San Luis, Pampanga, saying it was an H5N6 strain of avian influenza, which is transmittable to human, although the transmission rate was considered to be very low.
In the case of the deaths of the chicken in Dumaguete City, Ibarra stressed there was “no cause for alarm because it is still a subject for validation.”
Dumaguete City Veterinary Officer Lourdes Socorro has however confirmed the death of the 32 chickens that were raised in four adjoining backyard farms in Purok San Lorenzo, Barangay Talay, Dumaguete City.
“We identified four out of six household nga namatyan og 32 ka manok (that lost 32 chickens). Sikit pud kaayo ilaha (These farms are close to each other),” she told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview on Thursday.
Socorro said the unusual deaths of the birds happened since August 15 but were only reported by the poultry raisers on Monday.She said the fowls that died were domestic chickens and fighting cocks.
She said they have yet to determine what caused the deaths, but the poultry raisers feared it could be bird flu because of the outbreak in Pampanga.
“Kung wala pa tong nahitabo sa Pampanga kay dili g’yud ta ma alarm. Ang mga tawo nahibong basin bird flu. Na concern ra sad ang mga backyard raisers maong gi-report nila sa amoa (If there was no outbreak in Pampanga, we would not be alarmed. The residents were worried it might be bird flu. The backyard raisers were also concerned, that’s why they reported it to us),” she said.
She said they have collected mucus swabs and blood samples from the dead chickens for examination by the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Cebu.
“If it is not a bird flu then it is another endemic disease,” she said.
According to Socorro, there is a common respiratory illness affecting fowls that manifests the same symptoms as avian flu.
She said they also investigated the report of the number of chickens that also died in a poultry farm that adjoined Barangay Lorenzo but it was found to have been caused by the manner with which the fowls were handled in the farm and not due to disease.
Socorro added that while they were waiting for the result of the laboratory test, they had advised backyard farmers to contain their chickens in their own backyards and for the raisers to wash their hands thoroughly after handling the birds.
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