Bird flu spreads to N Ecija
TWO more cases of avian influenza had been confirmed in Nueva Ecija, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Friday.
“Two new cases of Avian Influenza have been confirmed by the Bureau of Animal Industry in Jaen and San Isidro towns in Nueva Ecija,” Piñol said.
“The confirmation was made after a series of laboratory tests on the specimens gathered from quails and layer chickens were conducted by the Animal Diseases Detection Laboratory.”
In Cabanatuan City, Gov. Cherry Umali ordered an investigation of the bird flu virus that had reached Jaen and San Isidro towns following information from the Department of Agriculture.
Umali ordered Provincial Veterinary Officer Ernesto Romero Jr. to verify the report.
Piñol said that, unlike in the case of San Luis, Pampanga, the cases in Nueva Ecija were immediately reported.
“Quarantine teams were immediately established even before the laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the virus,” he said.
“The farm in Jaen raised quails that were wiped out while the farm in Jaen is a layer poultry facility of about 20,000 heads. Culling operations are ongoing for the other fowls.”
The government had earlier put up one-kilometer quarantine zone and seven-kilometer control zone for surveillance. It also established 12 quarantine checkpoints to check incoming and outgoing vehicles moving livestock and poultry and to limit animal movements within the area.
A total of 36 farms have been listed as part of the depopulation process involving 600,000 fowls. The Agriculture Department had earlier said that only 200,000 fowls would be culled in the six farms affected by the bird flu outbreak.
The culling is expected to be finished by Saturday as the military had already committed to send one battalion to help in the culling.
Piñol also imposed a temporary ban on the movement of live domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs, semen and manure from Luzon to the Visayas and Mindanao.
His department is seeking an initial budget of P100 million to be used to help the farmers affected by the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga. With Ferdie G. Domingo