Pampanga placed under state of calamity due to avian flu virus

SAN LUIS, Pampanga, Aug. 12 — Governor Lilia Pineda on Friday declared the province under a state of calamity over the outbreak of avian flu virus in Barangays San Carlos and Sta. Rita in this town.

Pineda said the move aims to help the affected local government units (LGUs) fund preventive measures for the virus.

In a meeting with Pampanga officials, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol estimated the number of dead fowls at 37,000 out of the 194,000 population in the province as of August 4, this year.

“It is with sadness and great concern that the Department of Agriculture is confirming the outbreak of Avian influenza in the town of San Luis [Pampanga]. We have already made a series of tests confirming the type of Avian Influenza that hit San Luis town is H5,” said Pinol.

He declared that all fowls in the one-kilometer radius epicenter in San Luis will be culled and buried. Estimated to be affected are around 200,000 birds, chickens, quails, and ducks.

Culling would be done in five farms of layers and four farms of quails in Barangay San Carlos and four farms of ducks in nearby Barangay Sta. Rita for a total of 132, 500 heads, Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) focal person for avian flu control, said.

The culling method, agriculture authorities said, goes like this: the fowls will be placed in container vans and poisoned with carbon dioxide.The birds will then be buried in a single farm.

Piñol said no eggs could be brought out from the areas as 12 quarantine teams are now guarding the exit points of San Luis, all equipped with power sprays to disinfect all vehicles coming out of the said town.

Piñol even ordered a ban on the transport of poultry from Central Luzon to control the outbreak.

Senior Supt. Joel Consulta, Pampanga police director, said nine checkpoints have been established in San Luis town alone.

The secretary, in a meeting with affected livestock owners in the area, agreed to compensate for the birds that would be culled at a rate of about PHP80 per head.

He also called on other LGU executives in other province to implement quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the flu.

There is no reported human transmission of the avian flu virus as of press time. Marna Dagumboy Del Rosario/