MALACANANG on Saturday urged the public to be watchful and prepare to tackle any signs of bird flu infection in humans.
The call was made by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, a day after the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed an outbreak of the avian flu virus Pampanga province.
Abella said the government is closely monitoring the situation in Pampanga to avert the possible spread of the virus.
As of Saturday, Abella noted that no bird-to-human transmission has been reported.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in Pampanga following the confirmation of avian flu outbreak yesterday by the Department of Agriculture. As of this time, there has been no report of bird-to-human contamination,” Abella said in a statement.
“We ask our people to remain calm yet vigilant,” he added.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol confirmed Friday that around 37,000 birds have died from an influenza subtype H5, which can cause illness and deaths in both animals and humans.
Piñol said Pampanga has been placed under a state calamity after the outbreak affected six poultry farms in San Luis town.
He said the Agriculture department will cull about 200,000 fowls following the first avian flu outbreak.
Abella said the DA is now coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct avian flu and containment activities, including flu vaccinations and protective equipment for poultry handlers and reponders.
“Heightened surveillance for flu-like syndromes is now instituted in Pampanga within seven-kilometer radius of the affected farms,” he said.
“Any person living or residing in affected areas or who had been exposed to dead chickens, who becomes sick with flu or flu-like illness, such as fever and/or sore throat/cough, should immediately report to their local health center or nearest hospital for laboratory test,” he added.
Abella also advised the public to properly cook chicken meat and eggs to ensure food safety.
“The DOH assures our people that avian flu is transferred via respiratory routes. Properly cooked chicken meat and eggs remain safe to eat,” Abella said. (SunStar Philippines)