Northbound Philippines News

IATF reactivates national avian influenza task force

MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the recommendations of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to strengthen efforts versus the N5N6 avian influenza or bird flu in the country.

Under resolution no. 60, the IATF allowed the reactivation of the National Avian Influenza Task Force (NAITF) to manage the outbreaks using multi-agency coordination and collaboration.

The NAITF was first created in February 2004 under Executive Order No. 280.

The resolution also directs the DA to strengthen coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with local government units to do sustained monitoring and surveillance of the H5N6 avian influenza and its possible effects to humans.

Moreover, concerned agencies will also be tasked to intensify information campaign that chicken meat and eggs are safe for human consumption; strictly enforce the Good Animal Husbandry Practices; and enjoin the public to immediately report poultry mortalities to their respective LGUs and to the DA Regional Field Offices or to the DA-Bureau of Animal Industries.

On Tuesday, the DA announced the resurgence of bird flu in San Luis town in Pampanga province.

To control the spread of the disease, the DA said the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has ordered the culling of nearly 39,000 egg-producing chickens.

“The team humanely culled a total of 38,701 head of layers and disposed them off properly, employing the protocols under the Avian Influenza Protection Program of the Philippine government,” said DA-BAI director Ronnie Domingo, in his report to DA Secretary William Dar.

A composite team of veterinarians and animal health immediately applied emergency control measures at “ground zero” and conducted disease surveillance around the infected farm in San Luis town.

All personnel involved in the disease control measures were strictly monitored by the health office of San Luis, Domingo said, adding that the DA-BAI assures the public that the A(H5N6) has not been reported and detected among broilers, the primary source of poultry meat.

Last week, the BAI declared Jaen town in Nueva Ecija province as bird flu-free, four months since an outbreak was announced in the area.

A (H5N6) is a subtype of the bird flu virus that can be passed from animals to humans.

In 2017, Pampanga was the epicenter of the bird flu outbreak in the Philippines. Azer Parrocha /PNA –

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