2 Pampanga poultry farmers deny acquiring bird flu virus

SAN LUIS, Pampanga — Two poultry workers here on Wednesday denied reports that they contracted avian influenza commonly known as bird flu that hit this town.

The farmers who were suspected to show symptoms of bird flu were identified as Aris Rogenio Jimenez of Pedro Sumat Farm and Gerald Paitan Bandico of Arsha Abiline Farm, both of Barangay San Carlos, here.

The Department of Health (DOH) immediately summoned Jimenez and Bandico to assess their condition and clear any misinformation spreading in the province.

The two farmers denied the “malicious” news that they were the first case of avian influenza on humans.

“The other day, I had a cough but  got rid of it quickly. I do not have a fever too,” Jimenez said.

In a similar interview, the farm owner expressed shock over the news that her poultry workers were under suspicion of having avian influenza, noting that they are all fit for work.

She also appealed to the media to correct the reports to prevent misinformation to the public.

“The report of some media that there are farm workers confined at the San Luis Emergency District hospital is not true,” she pointed out.

Provincial health officer Marcelo Jaochico also appealed to correct the news.

“Based on the medical records, there are no patients here that exhibited symptoms of avian influenza,” Jaochico said.

He also said that there is nothing to be scared of since the bird flu strain is not transmissible to humans.

Meanwhile, San Luis municipal health officer Margarita Regala confirmed that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has started the evaluation of poultry farms that fall under the seven-kilometer radius from Barangay San Carlos in the town where the bird flu outbreak was reported last week. Joel Mapiles/PNA-northboundasia.com