Bird flu in PH: 90-day waiting period in Pampanga epicenter begins

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An official from the Bureau of Animal Industry says San Luis, Pampanga may be declared bird flu-free by December 20

MANILA, Philippines (Sept. 27, 2017) — The 90-day waiting period has already begun for the farm at the epicenter of the avian influenza or bird flu outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga, an agriculture official said Tuesday, September 26.

Ronnie Domingo, officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Animal Industry’s Animal Health and Welfare Division, told reporters on the sidelines of a forum Tuesday that the farm just finished its cleaning and disinfection last Thursday, September 21.

“‘Yung 90-day period ng OIE (World Organization for Animal Health), pwede [na] nating simulan (We can already start the 90-day period of the World Organization for Animal Health),” he explained.

The farm in San Luis only finished its cleaning and disinfection last week due to a “natural” problem.

Nagkaroon tayo ng natural problem. Tag-ulan ngayon, so ‘yung mga farmers na gustong maglinis, gusto nilang mai-dry ‘yung mga feces na aalisin nila doon sa farm, hindi nila magawa-gawa,” Domingo explained.

(We encountered a natural problem. Because it’s the rainy season, the farmers who wanted to clean up, who wanted the feces to dry first before removing them from the farm, they couldn’t do it.)

He said that based on OIE standards, the farm in San Luis, Pampanga can only be declared bird flu-free if no new cases are reported within 90 days from the point of disinfection.

By October 12, or after a 21-day “rest period,” sentinel birds will be sent to San Luis for monitoring.

Baka December 20, tapos na ‘yung Pampanga, pwede na ma-declare na bird flu-free (Maybe by December 20, we’re already done in Pampanga, we can already declare that it’s bird flu-free),” he added.

Domingo, however, cannot give a definite timeline for the bird flu cases in Nueva Ecija.

As soon as possible, ‘yun ang aming gustong mangyari, to clean and disinfect. The deadline is yesterday, parang ganun ‘yan e. Sa Nueva Ecija, wala pa akong updated report doon (We want to clean and disinfect as soon as possible, that’s what we want to happen. It’s like the deadline is yesterday. In Nueva Ecija, I still don’t have an updated report there),” he explained.

He said there’s a “social” problem in terms of getting information and samples from the affected farms in Nueva Ecija.

Kinausap ko ‘yung taga-Region III. Ang sabi sa akin ni Dr Ed Lapuz, tauhan na nila ang pinadala sa farm para maglinis. Ganun na ginawa ng gobyerno just to implement the protocol: depopulate, clean, and disinfect. Naunawaan po natin ‘yung mga farmers na naapektuhan nito…. Ngayon, kung ‘yung farm owner ay magde-desisyon siya, ayaw na niyang maglinis at mag-disinfect, ibang usapan na ‘yun.

(I already talked to Region III officials. Dr Ed Lapuz told me that they already sent their staff to the farm to clean. That’s what the government did just to implement the protocol: depopulate, clean, and disinfect. We understand the farmers who are affected by this…. Now if it’s the farm owner who will decide he or she no longer wants to clean and disinfect, that’s another matter.)

Asked about how the virus reached the country, Domingo said they have 4 hypotheses so far: the smuggling of avian influenza vaccine, the smuggling of ducks from China, the smuggling of giant quail also from China, and migratory birds.

Domingo shared lessons from the country’s bird flu outbreak during Tuesday’s Philippines-France forum on agriculture.

by Jee Y. Geronimo |