THE Davao City Government scheduled a city-wide poultry surveillance with the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Davao Region to be conducted this week until next week on the heels of the bird-flu outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga, on August 11.

Davao City Veterinarian's Office (CVO) assistant head Doctor Esther Cherrie Rayos, in an interview, said the city-wide poultry surveillance will include commercial poultry sellers, poultry farms, and backyard growers to be conducted by the City Health Office (CHO), CVO, and DA-Davao Region personnel.

The mechanism of the surveillance, Rayos said, will use DA's guidelines in monitoring migrating birds every September.

"Davao City is bird-flu free as there were no reports submitted to us. But to confirm that claim, we have to do this city-wide surveillance to assure our citizens that we are really away from the threat of this outbreak," she said.

Rayos added that the city government, regional provincial heads, and DA-Davao Region held consecutive meetings since August 14 to 16, regarding the city and regional based measures that have to be taken against the possible bird flu infiltration in the region.

DA-Davao Region Avian Influenza spokesperson Doctor Dannie Apelo said that the department has already started doing intensive monitoring on various poultry farms in other parts of the region by extracting blood samples from the chickens, birds, and ducks which will be examined by the Department of Health.

Apelo said there are five places in the region that DA-11 targets to focus its intensive surveillance as these are where most of the migrating birds pass through - Banay-Banay and Lupon in Davao Oriental; Malalag in Davao Del Sur; and Carmen in Davao del Norte.

He added that entry points in the region such as the airports, sea ports, and bus terminals are being monitored so poultry products can penetrate inside the region as compliance in the recent memorandum circular of DA Central Office temporarily banning the export of chicken, poultry meat, manure, broilers’ semen to Visayas and Mindanao.

"Quarantines are already established in all entry points in the region and our men from DA who will inspect all passengers, luggage, and vehicles if there are poultry products being carried," Apelo said.

However, both Apelo and Rayos assured all Dabawenyos that the chickens and eggs in the region are currently not infected with the Avian Influenza or bird flu and are safe to eat.

"One reason why Dabawenyos must not worry that the outbreak might infiltrate the city is that we do not import poultry products from any place in Luzon. The poultry products we consume are from our local chicken industry. And so far, DA-Davao and City Government have not yet confirmed any case," Rayos said.