DA 8 assures H5N1 case in Leyte immediately contained

By: Futch Anthony Inso - CDN Digital Correspondent | April 02,2024 - 08:34 PM

H5N1

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Preemptive actions have been taken by concerned government agencies and private parties to contain the possible outbreak of Avian flu (H5N1 influenza) in Kananga, Leyte, as assured by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

In a statement, the DA Regional Field Office 8 emphasized that contrary to speculations and information circulating on social media, the (H5N1) case was immediately contained due to preemptive actions taken by the farm management, its contracting company, and the local government unit of Kananga.

The DA-RFO 8 explained that after confirmation by the Bureau of Animal Industry – Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory (ADDRL) that blood samples taken from a breeding farm in Kananga tested positive for the H5N1 antibody, the farm management promptly conducted preemptive culling of birds in one of the five bird houses where increased mortalities were observed.

It further stated that the farm management depopulated all bird stocks in all bird houses on March 15 and 16 to contain the disease within the farm immediately and prevent its spread within the vicinity.

Earlier, Palompon, Leyte Mayor Ramon Oñate urged the government to take action and investigate the alleged discovery of sacks filled with dead chickens in a lot inside the Leyte Poultry Development Corporation (LPDC) in barangay Naghalin in Kananga, Leyte.

LPDC is owned by Ormoc city prosecutor Benjamin Pongos Jr. and contract-grower San Miguel Food Inc (SMFI).

Oñate, whose family owns the DBSN poultry farm in Palompon, expressed concern that reported massive deaths in Kananga poultry could adversely affect the environment and the health of residents living in the vicinity because dead chickens were supposedly being buried near rivers.

However, contrary to Oñate’s claim that dead chickens were buried near rivers, the DA-RFO 8 stated that “carcasses of the depopulated birds were buried within the farm premises.”

“Authorities were assured that proper disposal were observed and are aligned with existing protocols,” it said, adding that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) have already been alerted and “further site investigation and inspection will commence once the quarantine period within the vicinity is lifted.” DA-RFO 8 said in a statement.

The DA-RFO 8 also coordinated with the Department of Health (DOH) to closely monitor quarantined farm workers who had close contact with infected birds. The DOH assured that proper healthcare would be provided for workers during the quarantine period and would support other government agencies conducting site investigation and inspection.

“The DOH assured that proper healthcare are provided for the workers during the quarantine period and will provide the necessary healthcare support to other government agencies who will conduct the site investigation and inspection,” it added.

The DA-RFO 8 emphasized that it is still safe to buy and consume chicken and other poultry products in the local market as long as they have passed proper meat inspection by the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) and purchased from registered and authorized markets and sellers.

“The public is advised to refrain from engaging with and sharing social media posts that are aimed to cause fear-mongering. Rest assured that the government and its concerned agencies are in control of the situation and are taking the necessary steps to avert any untoward circumstances that could potentially affect the poultry industry, our citizens and other economic activities,” the agency said.

The DA urged the public to participate in monitoring and continuous surveillance of poultry farms and industry. It also urged refraining from posting on social media any news or reports that might cause unnecessary panic.

“Lastly, we urge everyone’s support as we hurdle this challenge to the agriculture sector, and together let us move forward toward a masaganang agrikultura at maunlad na ekonomiya,” it said.

Earlier, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order to prevent the entry of poultry products from Leyte due to the Avian Flu outbreak in the area.

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TAGS: Department of Agriculture, Leyte

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