Friday, August 11, 2017

Philippines: Culling Ordered After First Detection Of HPAI H5 Avian Flu

Philippines & Location Under Migratory Flyway



#12,778

Given their location - only a few hundred air miles from avian flu hot spots like Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Vietnam  - and positioned under the East Asian-Australian Flyway,  the Philippines have always seemed ripe for seeing the introduction of HPAI H5.  
Despite some rumors over the years - including a `suspected' imported human case in 2015 - until today, the Philippines have remained bird flu free.
While details are sparse, and the Philippines Department of Agriculture site has yet to post anything, we've numerous media reports of an HPAI H5 bird flu outbreak in Luzon, north of Manila, and already the Department of Health website has posted a notice.

First, one of the many media reports on this outbreak.  This from the Reuters.

Philippines reports first avian flu outbreak, to cull 400,000 birds
by Reuters


Friday, 11 August 2017 05:34 GMT

MANILA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The Philippines plans to cull 400,000 chickens, quails and ducks after confirming the country's first outbreak of bird flu, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol on Friday.

The avian flu outbreak was detected in a farm in a town in Pampanga province, north of the capital Manila, which later spread to neighbouring farms. There has been no case of human transmission so far, Pinol told reporters.

"We will cull all 400,000 birds within a 1-km (0.6 mile) area. We don't want diseases to spread," Pinol said.

The source of the disease and the strain of avian flu were not immediately clear. There were indications as early as April of bird flu hitting one farm, but the situation worsened in July, with around 37,000 birds dying during the period, Pinol said.

(Continue . . . )

Another report from GMA news attempts to reassure that the virus isn't H5N1, although the exact strain has yet to be confirmed.

NEGATIVE FOR H5N1
Gov't monitoring possible human infections amid Pampanga bird flu
Published August 11, 2017 5:41pm
By RIE TAKUMI, GMA News
The avian influenza in Pampanga does not have the H5N1 strain, authorities said on Friday, even as they assured that the Department of Health is monitoring possible cases of human infection in the area,

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine Assistant Director Celia Carlos said tests confirmed that the virus found in the outbreak area did not have the H5N1 strain. Samples will be sent to Australia to confirm its exact strain and results are expected in two weeks.
(Continue . . . )

There are conflicting reports on exactly when birds began dying in Luzon, the eact strain, and how the virus may have been introduced. While all that gets sorted out (and that could take a while), we have the following statement from the Philippines DOH.

DOH’s RESPONSE TO IMPENDING THREAT OF AVIAN INFLUENZA

The Department of Health (DOH) is now closely monitoring the events surrounding an avian flu outbreak in poultry in Pampanga, as reported by the Department of Agriculture (DA). DA decided to cull around 500,000 chickens to contain the animal outbreak.

The DOH has stepped-up the human flu like-illness surveillance since the reported human influenza outbreaks in Hong kong and India few months back and will now look for human cases who may have been exposed to avian flu strain in affected areas. Any person who becomes sick with fever and/or sore throat/cough and had exposure to these dead chickens should report to the local health center or nearest hospital for laboratory confirmation.

A team of DOH epidemiologists has been dispatched to assist the DA in the outbreak investigation. The DOH is now alerting hospitals in the affected areas to report similar cases.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has the capacity to confirm these cases. The DOH will coordinate efforts with DA, FAO and WHO to prevent human cases. The DOH has supply of anti-flu medication and commodities whenever regional health offices and hospitals will require these.

In the interim, all health providers should observe respiratory precautions when taking care of patients with flu or flu-like illness. Properly cooked chicken remains safe to eat.

Stay tuned.


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