CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) here said that there are no substantial reports that the airborne Newcastle disease virus (NDV) has affected commercial poultry farms in Central Luzon (CL).

This, despite the outbreak of NDV or Avian pest, a highly contagious and often severe disease affecting birds and fowl in CL resulting in thousands of deaths of backyard chickens and game fowl.

The NDV has been found in Pangasinan, Pampanga and Tarlac provinces.

The DA said the virus has yet to affect commercial poultry farms in Central Luzon, as most of the deaths have been reported among backyard fowl raisers.

Regional Director Andrew Villacorta said the DA has met with commercial poultry raisers, who have committed support to provide vaccines for backyard farmers and game fowl raisers.

He said the move is aimed to protect commercial farms from further spread of the virus.

The Avian pest has a high mortality rate and can wipe out a poultry farm in 24 hours but while it is not deadly to humans, exposure to infected fowl can cause mild conjunctivitis and influenza-like symptoms.

Villacorta said the Bureau of Animal Industry, the DA and local government units have put up a quick response team that will further look into the measures to counter the spread of the virus.