MANILA -- The two poultry farm workers in San Luis, Pampanga who had manifested flu-like symptoms, have tested negative for avian influenza, Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial announced on Wednesday.

"The results were released last night: the two were negative," Ubial said, confirming that there is still no human infection of bird flu in the country.

She said the results of nose and throat swabs and blood samples taken from the two patients and sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa, showed that they were suffering from regular flu.

"There are three types of influenza (virus): A, B, C -- A is for birds, B is for humans, C is for pigs. The two had the B (virus)," Ubial said, adding that the two patients were however advised to continue taking the anti-viral medicine provided by the health department.

The two were discharged from the hospital on Tuesday night.

The two patients were among a group of poultry farm workers who were subjected to tests by the health department because they had direct contact with infected chickens. One reportedly had fever, while the other had cough.

Department spokesperson, Dr. Eric Tayag, said fever, cough and sore throat are symptoms of bird flu.

He noted that those who have direct contact with infected birds, such as those who care, slaughter and dress chickens and clean their coop, and those who come near them are at risk of contracting avian flu.

The virus, which is found in infected chickens’ feathers, intestines and feces, can enter a person’s body through the eyes, nose and mouth.

Tayag assured that the chances of survival of bird flu patients are big, especially if the illness is detected and managed early.

He said the health department has been preparing for bird flu since 1997 and has stored sufficient stocks of Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) in case of any outbreak. (PNA)