Saturday , June 23, 2018

Amid bird flu outbreak, public urged to avoid spreading ‘unverified’ reports

MALACAÑANG on Saturday appealed to the public to refrain from spreading “unverified” information that might cause “undue alarm and panic,” amid the avian flu outbreak in Pampanga.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the public should remain calm and vigilant as the government is closely monitoring the reported cases of avian influenza in Nueva Ecija province.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol confirmed that the first bird flu outbreak in Pampanga’s San Luis town has now spread in the towns of Jaen and San Isidro in Nueva Ecija. The confirmation was made after series of laboratory tests.

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Nueva Ecija following the confirmation of poultry deaths in the province yesterday by the Department of Agriculture,” Abella said.

“We ask our people to remain calm yet vigilant and to refrain from spreading unverified information that may cause undue alarm and panic,” he added.

Culling operations are ongoing for hundreds of thousands fowls to prevent the spread of the first bird flu outbreak in the country.

Abella assured the public that the government is focused on ensuring that the virus would not spread to other parts of the country.

“Our officials have been quick in their response, particularly in avian flu investigation and containment activities. They have established heightened surveillance and community action teams for detection of other fowl deaths and possible flu cases in humans. They have likewise established advance command posts in San Nicholas, Pampanga and San Isidro, Nueva Ecija with capacity to respond 24/7,” he added.

“Our health officers have trained AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) personnel and have provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Prophylaxis Medicines (Tamiflu), good for 10 days for soldiers who would do the culling,” he added.

“As of this time, again, there has been no report of bird-to-human contamination in the Philippines. We reiterate that bird flu is transferred via respiratory routes. Properly cooked chicken meat and eggs remain safe to eat,” Abella added. (SunStar Philippines)