(PNA file photo)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office-Central Luzon (RFO3) has ordered stricter control and containment measures against bird flu after a poultry farm in Santo Tomas, this province, showed the presence of the avian influenza virus.

In a letter, DA RFO3 Executive Director Crispulo G. Bautista asked Santo Tomas Mayor John Sambo to implement prompt quarantine prevention and control measures after laboratory tests showed the samples to be positive for Influenza Type A subtype H5N1.

Bautista likewise asked for the activation of the Municipal Avian Influenza Task Force to strictly monitor the situation.

The DA RFO3 collected samples last June 24 and 27 following reports of suspected cases in Barangay San Bartolome in Sto. Tomas.

The samples were then tested on June 29 at the Animal Disease Diagnosis and Reference Laboratory, Bureau of Animal Industry in Quezon City.

“After Avian Influenza confirmation from a laboratory test, stamping out of all poultry shall be implemented in the AI infected premises within 24 hours after declaration and to be accomplished in the shortest possible time,” Bautista said in his letter.

Sambo, for his part, said on Tuesday that checkpoints have been set up going in and out of the town.

Likewise, the mayor said he would order the prohibition of bringing poultry products in and out of the town.

Meanwhile, he asked for support and cooperation from his constituents to immediately contain the spread of bird flu.

“Ako po nananawagan sa mga nag-aalaga ng manok. Napakahirap nang dumating na pagsubok na ito sa atin. Hindi pa tayo nakakabangon sa pandemya. Heto may krisis na naman. Magtulungan po tayo at huwag nating itago ito . Kailangan nating harapin ang problema ito para mabigyan natin ng sapat na lunas at sa gayun ay hindi lubos maakpektuhan ang ating industriya ng pagmamanukan (I am calling the owners of poultry farms. This is a very tough challenge for us. We have not yet recovered from the pandemic. Here is the crisis again. Let us help one another and do not hide it. We need for face the problem so that we can provide adequate solutions and in order not to greatly hit our poultry industry),” Sambo said in a regional television interview.

Municipal Agriculturist Gregorio Manansala said some 100,000 chickens have already been culled and another 250,000 more are scheduled to suffer the same. (PNA)