China bird flu death toll rises to 161 in worst outbreak since 2009

UNTV News   •   March 13, 2017   •   2772

Health officers in protective clothing cull poultry at a wholesale market, as trade in live poultry suspended after a spot check at a local street market revealed the presence of H7N9 bird flu virus, in Hong Kong June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

China reported 61 fatalities and 160 cases of human infection from H7N9 bird flu in February, the government said on Monday, much higher than in previous years and bringing the death toll in this winter’s outbreaks to 161 since October.

While the total for last month was lower than January’s 79, it was the highest number for the month of February since the deadly strain was first identified in 2013, according to data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

The death toll from bird flu infections tends to drop towards the end of the winter.

The data highlights the scale of the spread of the virus among humans, even after Chinese disease control experts have warned the public to stay on alert. South Korea and Japan are also battling their own major outbreaks and have culled millions of chickens.

The H7N9 strain shows little or no symptoms in poultry, a factor which has limited the number of birds culled in the world’s third-largest producer of broiler chickens and the second-biggest consumer of poultry.

The total of 140 for first two months of 2017 alone already surpasses the annual totals for avian flu in China in recent years. In 2010, 147 people died of the H1N1 strain of the virus.

(Reporting by Josephine Mason and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

Philippines now free of H5N6 bird flu – DA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is now free of Avian Influenza (AI) or bird flu, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the DA announced that the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) declared the country free of the last remaining A(H5N6) strain of Avian Influenza on January 8, 2021.

The department said the country was able to resolve the outbreaks of AI A(H5N6) in a commercial layer poultry farm in Pampanga, and backyard poultry farms in a village in Rizal, in less than a year after the poultry virus reemerged in the country.

In its report to the OIE, the DA Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) said the affected farms showed no further evidence of the presence of the AI virus during the monitoring and surveillance.

“We had not detected any case of AI A(H5N6) among the poultry and other bird population in the last 90 days after the completion of cleaning and disinfection in the affected farms, surveillance and monitoring, and completion of the 35-day restocking period with sentinel animals in Pampanga and Rizal,” the DA-BAI said.

The recurrence of A(H5N6) was confirmed by the DA-BAI Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory on July 10, 2020, after the owner of the commercial layer farm notified the Pampanga provincial veterinary office about the sudden drop in egg production, cyanosis (dark bluish or purplish coloration of the skin and mucous membranes in chickens), and mortalities.

Another case was detected in Rizal, as reported by a farmer on August 26, 2020, to the municipal veterinary office of Taytay.

The backyard farm had approximately 500 heads of free-range chicken and 300 heads of Muscovy ducks. The clinical signs — such as wry neck or torticollis, cyanosis of extremities — and death were observed since August 10, 2020.

As a result of the swift action of the farm owners, sanitary control and containment operations to prevent the further spread of the virus were carried out immediately, the DA said.

“We appreciate the rapid response and collaboration of the local government units of Pampanga and Rizal and DA Regional Field Offices III and IV-A,” the DA-BAI said.

The agency also thanked the affected farmers — for their prompt reporting that led to the early containment of the disease — the poultry stakeholders, and partners from the Department of Health for extending support to the prevention and control of AI.

To recall, the Philippines also resolved the outbreak cases in 2017 and in 2018.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said this is a welcome development considering that poultry meat is a highly popular animal protein source among Filipinos, like pork and beef.

“I congratulate the DA-BAI and the local governments of Pampanga and Rizal, whose swift action resulted in limiting the further spread of the AI A(H5N6) strain to other areas,” Dar said.

The DA-BAI, however, reminds poultry farmers and industry stakeholders to remain vigilant and report any unusual mortalities to their respective farm veterinarians or nearest government veterinary or agriculture office.

PH temporarily bans poultry products from Australia amid bird flu outbreak

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 19, 2020

The Philippine government has implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Australia following the bird flu outbreak in the said country.

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary William Dar issued Memorandum Order No. 40 series of 2020 on August 14 which was released to the media on Wednesday (August 19). The memorandum states the ban of importing poultry products including chicken meat and eggs from Australia.

On July 31, the Australian government reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N7 in Victoria, Australia.

Meanwhile, meat processors raised concerns over possible shortage of mechanically deboned chicken (MDM) due to the said temporary ban. According to the Philippine Association of Meat Processors Incorporated (PAMPI), MDM is a common ingredient for emulsified products like meatloaf, hotdog, siomai and others.

The DA recently implemented a temporary ban on poultry products from Brazil after a batch of frozen chicken wings from said country reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Due to this, PAMPI spokesperson Rex Agarrado said this could affect canned goods companies.

“The travel time in the Philippines to Brazil or Brazil to the Philippines is five to six weeks; eight weeks if you go to Cebu. You will realize that in a matter of time, 6 weeks from now, 7 weeks from now, you will see some brands not being available in the market anymore,” he said.

Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo, however, assured the supply of imported chicken in the country will not be affected by the import bans. Domingo also said there is a 150-day surplus of chicken in the country.

“Marami po tayong bansa na kinukuhanan ng manok. Labing apat na bansa po iyon. Hindi po natin sinarado po iyon at ikalawa, sobra po ang manok natin this year, (We get our chicken supply from numerous countries. There are 14 of them. We also have a surplus of supply this year)” he said. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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.

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