LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Effects of the Newcastle disease in the province are now closely monitored.

Doctor Miriam Tiongan of the Provincial Veterinary Office said there are 717 suspected cases of the Newcastle disease in the province.

Tiongan added three municipalities have been affected now and monitored.

“Under process pa ang validation ng cases and we are waiting for test results,” Tiongan said.

Cases of Newcastle disease were confirmed to have infected the backyard chicken industry in the three municipalities according to Tiongan.

Benguet has appropriated additional funding for vaccines for the Newcastle disease to augment initial help from the Department of Agriculture for the emerging diseases hitting poultry in the province.

The Newcastle disease is a contagious bird disease affecting many domestic and wild avian species which can be transmitted to humans.

Its effects are most notable in domestic poultry because of their high susceptibility and the potential for severe impacts of an epizootic on the poultry industries and endemic to many countries.

Exposure of humans to infected birds can cause mild conjunctivitis and influenza-like symptoms, but the virus otherwise poses no hazard to human health.

Birds, mostly fighting cocks and range chicken, have died in Central Luzon due to the Newcastle disease virus (NDV), also known as the avian pest.

On the onset, the virus afflicted poultry mostly in Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.