Bird flu detected in Pampanga egg farm, Agri dept. says

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020   •   298

MANILA, Philippines – A strain of a highly-pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a poultry farm in Pampanga, the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed on Wednesday.

Citing a report from the Bureau of Animal Industry, the DA said the presence of the avian flu strain, specifically A(H5N6), was detected in a poultry layer or egg-producing farm in San Luis town.

In a statement, the department said that upon confirmation of the report, a composite team of veterinarians and animal health officers from its field office in Central Luzon and Pampanga was immediately sent to the area to apply emergency control measures and conduct disease surveillance around the infected farm to arrest the spread of A(H5N6).

“The team humanely culled a total of 38,701 head of layers and disposed off them properly, employing the protocols under the Avian Influenza Protection Program of the Philippine Government,” DA-BAI director Ronnie Domingo said in his report to Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

The agency assured that all personnel involved in the disease control measure were strictly monitored. It added that the avian disease has not been reported and detected among broilers, which is the primary source of poultry meat.

Domingo said that early reporting, detection and strong multi-agency collaboration “paved the way for the rapid and effective response in the management of the A(H5N6) incidence.”

Initial field investigation showed the presence in San Luis of migratory birds, which has been associated with bird flu outbreaks in many countries, including the Philippines.

Domingo said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified 117 important bird areas (IBA) in the country, and about 150,000 migratory birds nest and breed annually in Central Luzon.

“The DA-BAI, therefore, urges poultry raisers in Central Luzon and in traditional IBAs to protect and shield their farms from the entry of migratory birds, and more importantly immediately report any unusual poultry mortalities,” it said.

DA-BAI assures no broilers affected by bird flu in Pampanga

Marje Pelayo   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reported a confirmed case of bird flu or a highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) strain, specifically A(H5N6), at a poultry layer or egg-producing farm in San Luis, Pampanga.

Upon confirming the report, the department immediately sent a composite team of veterinarians and animal health officers to the area to apply emergency control measures to contain the spread of the bird disease. 

The team also conducted disease surveillance around the infected farm.

“The team humanely culled a total of 38,701 head of layers and disposed off of them properly, employing the protocols under the Avian Influenza Protection Program of the Philippine Government,” DA-BAI Director Ronnie Domingo reported.

All personnel involved in the disease control measures were strictly monitored by the health office of San Luis, said Domingo.

Domingo has assured that there were no reports or detection of A(H5N6) among broilers, the primary source of poultry meat, in the area.

Pampanga to return to ECQ if spike in COVID-19 cases continues, governor warns

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 8, 2020

Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda warned of reverting the province to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise.

“Tumaas po ang mga kaso natin. I have no choice kung hindi ibalik sa GCQ ito o ECQ kung aabot tayo sa worst situation (Cases in our province increased. I have no choice but to revert to GCQ or ECQ if the situation worsens),” he said.

After the province was placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) on June 15, new COVID-19 cases went up by 25. As of July 7, according to the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, there are 166 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Pampanga, with 100 recoveries and 16 deaths.

Only Arayat and Masantol, Pampanga remain COVID-19-free, the Pampanga governor said. He reminds residents to only leave the house if necessary.

“Hindi po sinasabi ng MGCQ na libre kayo na makipagkwentuhan sa ibang lugar (Just because it’s MGCQ, it doesn’t mean you are free to meet up in other places),” he said.

Barangay Capalangan and Sulipan in Apalit are currently under hard lockdown until July 16 due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the area. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

2 Chinese nationals nabbed for operating underground clinic in Pampanga

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Central Luzon Regional Office has arrested two Chinese nationals for operating an underground clinic and pharmacy in Angeles, Pampanga.

Authorities raided an underground medical clinic and pharmacy on Volga Street in Barangay Anunas on Thursday (May 28).

The arrested Chinese nationals were identified as 66-year-old Chen Zheng Zhong and 33-year-old son Chen Hai Fang. Chen Zheng Zhong is the doctor treating Chinese patients while his son sells illegal Chinese medicines.

According to the NBI, the suspects used a two-storey apartment as their underground clinic and pharmacy.

“Hindi mo talaga iisipin na mayroong clinic doon sa loob kasi isang apartment lang, (You wouldn’t think that there is a clinic inside because it’s only an apartment),” according to NBI Regional Office 3 Operations Officer Atty. Marvin de Jemil.

“Wala silang permit from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and then naghahanap din kami ng business permit, wala din silang permit. Wala rin silang license to operate (They don’ have a permit from the FDA, nor a business permit. They also don’t have a license to operate),” Jemil added.

Upon inspection of the NBI and the FDA, they found six hospital-like beds, two beds on the first floor and four more beds on the second floor of the building.

The two suspects are now detained at the NBI regional Office at City of San Fernando, Pampanga and are facing several charges including the violation of the Medical Act of 1959. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

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