ZAMBOANGA City remains to be free from the avian influenza or bird flu, a local official announced.

City Veterinarian Mario Ariola made the announcement based on results of the Avian Influenza Surveillance conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in cooperation with his office.

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He said the surveillance covered from last January 15 until February 5 this year.

Ariola said serological tests conducted on fowls and other animals in identified vulnerable barangays in this city yielded negative results of avian influenza virus.

Ariola said the surveillance covered the monitoring and observation of the fowls such as chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, geese and ducks.

Ariola said the tests were done through blood sampling and cloacal swab collection.

He said the DA has gathered blood samples from a total of 187 fowls to test against anti-bodies avian influenza virus.

Ariola said the conduct of the Avian Influenza Surveillance is one of the programs initiated by his office in collaboration with the DA to ensure that the city remains free from the bird flu.

Zamboanga City has been cited in 2009 as the country’s first city to develop a City Avian Influenza Contingency Plan.

The plan is aimed to protect Zamboanga City from avian flu commonly known as bird flu and caused by viruses adapted to birds. (Bong Garcia)