THE avian influenza or bird flu virus is hitting anew several farms in this town.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed the presence of the virus in Barangay San Bartolome here after several samples taken from June 24 to June 27 were positive for influenza Type A subtype H5N1.

The samples were then tested on June 29 and confirmed at the Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory, Bureau of Animal Industry in Quezon City.

Mayor John Sambo, upon the advice of DA, has ordered the culling of the around 100,000 egg-laying chickens to immediately contain the spread of bird flu.

Sambo also targets the culling of some 250,00 more chicken layers to prevent possible outbreak in the province.

Sto. Tomas, particularly Barangay San Bartolome, and its adjacent Minalin town is host to dozens of poultry farms as they are one of the main producers of chicken and duck eggs in Central Luzon.

Aside from the culling of chickens, Sambo also ordered the banning of bringing of poultry products in and out of the town to contain the virus.

Several checkpoints have been established in town to monitor and ensure the implementation of the order.

In an interview, Sambo asked for the cooperation of poultry owners to prevent the further spread of bird flu in and outside of their area.

“Magtulungan po tayo at huwag nating itago ito . Kailangan nating harapin ang problema ito para mabigyan natin ng sapat na lunas at sa gayun ay hindi lubos maakpektuhan ang ating industriya ng pagmamanukan,” he said.

Meanwhile, he asked for support and cooperation from his constituents to immediately contain the spread of bird flu.

Meanwhile, DA Regional Field Office Executive Director Crispulo G. Bautista asked asked for the activation of the Municipal Avian Influenza Task Force to strictly monitor the situation.