SURIGAO CITY -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Caraga Region has dismissed rumors that the Avian influenza, commonly known as bird-flu, has reached the region.
A DA official said the rumors stem from the supposed deaths of some ducks at a farm in Butuan City.
“The incident on August 19 in which 15 domesticated ducks were found dead in one of the barangays in Butuan City has already been investigated. Personnel from the DA’s Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory headed by Chief Veterinarian Esther Cardeno quickly responded and went to the area and conducted thorough investigation and further advise the owner on what to do to prevent further deaths of their ducks," said Emmylou Presilda, information officer of DA-Caraga.
Presilda pointed out that the assessment of the team pointed out that it was not the feared bird-flu that killed the ducks.
“The assessment and initial diagnosis of the veterinarian team who investigated the incident revealed that the cause of death of animals was the lack of oxygen considering how congested they were and how populated the space was for the ducks. Another observation was is that, water source that is important for raising ducks is not abundant in the said area. According to the owner, the ducks were only confined in their area and have not had any contact with other feathered animals outside their backyard,” Presilda said.
Cardeno, who headed the investigating team, expressed that the signs of death is far from the symptoms that could point to Avian Influenza but further test shall be conducted by the DA to rule out the exact cause of its death.
Luzviminda Enciso, the owner of a small duck-raising farm, pointed out that she was baffled as to how her ducks died all at the same time with no symptoms after finding them lifeless early Saturday morning where they are kept in Purok 3A, barangay Holy Redeemer, Butuan City.
“The DA-13 (Caraga) would like to ask the public to remain calm but be vigilant and report any unusual death of feathered animals such as poultry and ducks. We also requests Caraganons to refrain from spreading false and unverified information so as not to create panic. Kindly contact the nearest Municipal/City Agriculture Office or the Department of Agriculture at telephone numbers 342-4092 for assistance,” Presilda said.
A published scientific journal, dated May 31, 2009 and published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website titled Ducks: The “Trojan Horses” of H5N1 influenza pointed out that ducks does not immediately die after infection of the said virus compared to other domesticated poultry such as chicken.
In the abstract of the journal it stated that, "several duck species are naturally resistant to HP Asian H5N1 influenza viruses. These duck species can shed and spread virus from both the respiratory and intestinal tracts while showing few or no disease signs. While the HP Asian H5N1 viruses are 100 percent lethal for chickens and other gallinaceous poultry, the absence of disease signs in some duck species has led to the concept that ducks are the 'Trojan horses' of H5N1 in their surreptitious spread of virus."