Philippines to cull 400000 fouls after bird flu outbreak

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MALACANANG on Saturday urged the public to be watchful and prepare to tackle any signs of bird flu infection in humans.

He said he has informed President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Health and will report the outbreak to the World Organization for Animal Health.

DA Region 3 Executive Director Dr. Andrew B. Villacorta, meanwhile, said that agencies concerned are presently discussing possible action should the situation worsened and affect the whole poultry industry.

Gov. Lilia Pineda declared the entire province of Pampanga under a state of calamity after the agriculture department confirmed the bird flu outbreak in the town of San Luis, Pampanga.

"We ask our people to remain calm yet vigilant", he added.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol says he has ordered all fouls within a kilometer (0.6 mile) of six affected farms in northern San Luis town culled.

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The Senate armed services committee member also noted that "I don't want to trust one intel report, we've learned from Iraq that you do need to be cautious".

Close to 40,000 poultry heads, including quails and ducks, were slaughtered in a farm here where authorities have confirmed the presence of a highly infectious strain of bird flu.

Abella said the health department is helping DA in its "avian flu investigation and containment activities" which include providing flu vaccinations and protective equipment for poultry handlers and responders.

The Philippines on Friday reported its first outbreak of bird flu and would cull almost half a million birds to contain the disease, an official said. "Any person living or residing in affected areas or who have been exposed to dead chickens who becomes sick with flu or flu-like illness, such as fever and/or sore throat/cough should immediately report to their local health center or nearest hospital for laboratory tests", Abella said.

"Properly cooked chicken meat and eggs remain safe to eat", Abella said.

Bird flu virus, according to DOH, could be transferred through respiratory routes.

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