THE Department of Agriculture-Davao Region (DA-Davao) is intensifying its monitoring against Avian Influenza (AI) H5N1 (bird flu) following the recently reported case in neighboring provinces, and the incoming influx of migratory birds in some parts of the region.

According to local media in South Cotabato on Monday afternoon, September 19, around 100,000 chickens in a poultry farm in Barangay Magon in Tantangan, South Cotabato was subjected to culling after some samples tested positive for bird flu.

DA-Davao Avian Flu focal person Armie Capuyan told SunStar Davao on Monday afternoon, September 19 that their office received reports of reported avian flu in neighboring areas, but she cannot confirm the report in South Cotabato.

Although, she assured that the region remains to have zero cases of bird flu since the first reported case in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur in April this year.

"As for now, wala ta'y reported case sa Region 11 (Davao), pero nagapadayon atong pagbantay sa maong kaso... Na-declare naman sab ta na AI free-zone na ta (we don’t have reported case in Region 11, but we continue with our monitoring... Although we were already declared a AI free-zone)," Capuyan said.

Whenever they receive reports of suspicious cases in poultry farms, their office immediately conducts an investigation and gets samples from poultries. Samples will be subject to confirmatory tests.

Capuyan said they continue to intensify the regional border checkpoints to screen the entry of poultry and its byproducts from neighboring provinces. Among the requirements that will be asked during the inspection are a veterinary health certificate, the negative laboratory test result for avian influenza or ELISA Test, New Castle Disease-free certification, and Bureau of Animal Industry documents such as shipping permit, Livestock Handler’s License, and Registration of Transport Carrier.

Meanwhile, she warned farmers of the possible convergence of migratory birds near farms, swamps, and rice fields as these are potential sources of bird flu.

Among the critical areas are some municipalities in Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.

"Ayaw pag-contact, no contact dapat sa mga (You should not make any contact to) migratory birds as these can be transmitted to birds and humans," Capuyan said.

With the upcoming Christmas season, where there is a growing demand for poultry products, the DA official reminded farms to implement biosecurity measures as the spread of the virus could hamper the poultry industry, especially during the holidays.

She also told the public to be vigilant and cautious to prevent its possible spread.

According to the World Health Organization, humans can be infected with avian viruses.

Human infections are primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, these viruses have not acquired the ability of sustained transmission among humans.

In Davao City, all live domestic and captured wild birds and their products coming from Luzon and other areas with cases of avian influenza H5N1 strain or bird flu are banned from entry.

This is in accordance with Executive Order (EO) No. 19 Series of 2022 signed by former Davao City Mayor and current Vice President Sara Duterte on May 13, 2022, to ensure that the poultry population and industry in Davao City remain safe from the highly pathogenic bird flu.

Under the said EO, the temporary ban covers all live domestic and captured wild birds from mainland Luzon, its island provinces, and other areas in the Philippines, along with their products and byproducts including day-old chicks, eggs, semen, manure, and feathers. RGL