THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered tighter restrictions on poultry farms following confirmed outbreaks of the avian influenza H5N1 disease in four areas, as well as confirmed cases in another five provinces, including Benguet.
Under a new memorandum circular, the movement of poultry birds and commodities through and from affected areas, especially those from the one-kilometer quarantine zones, are restricted.
The four outbreaks are in Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, and Camarines Sur.
Confirmed cases of H5N1 have also been logged in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Tarlac, Sultan Kudarat, and Benguet.
“We need to act immediately to control avian influenza — which was initially detected in a duck farm in Bulacan and quail farms in Pampanga — so that we can prevent any further spread and damage to our poultry industry,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said in a statement.
“The avian influenza virus detected is of subtype H5N1, which is also a threat to human health. This is the very reason we have to double our efforts in controlling and containing bird flu, and we can accomplish this through cooperation – especially those who are engaged in poultry production,” he added.
DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Dr. Reildrin Morales has meanwhile said that farm owners are mandated to comply completely with the transport requirements, tests, and biosecurity protocols from the World Organization for Animal Health.
Morales also said the DA-BAI has been conducting surveillance in all affected areas along with the Department of Health (DOH), which is monitoring possible H5N1 transmission to humans.
However, the DA-BAI said that DOH personnel are yet to find any indication or symptoms among humans in any of the outbreak sites.