LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte has been cleared of avian influenza or bird flu.
“We are happy to report that we are now cleared of bird flu. All the documents to support our HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza)-free status have been prepared,” provincial veterinarian Loida Valenzuela shared this on Wednesday while defending her office’s proposed 2024 budget before members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan at the session hall.
In early February this year, the Department of Agriculture identified Region 1 as one of the nine regions affected by bird flu.
In Ilocos Norte in particular, the affected areas are the city of Laoag and the towns of Sarrat, Bacarra and Pasuquin.
“Upon detection of the disease, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, through the Provincial Veterinary Office, formed teams for disease mapping and laboratory surveillance. It showed that eight towns in District 1 were affected,” Valenzuela said.
After cleaning and disinfection activities were conducted in the affected areas, Valenzuela said all the infected poultry farms yielded negative results as of end-October.
To maintain the province’s bird flu-free status, Valenzuela said the province’s border control measures are in place to ensure that transport of live poultry, table eggs and other poultry products and by-products are negative for avian influenza.
Valenzuela also urged the public to always observe biosecurity measures, put net enclosures for range chicken and to immediately report any poultry mortalities.
Under Article 10.4.6 of the World Organization for Animal Health, a country or a zone’s avian influenza-free status may be regained after measures to address the issue have been done at a minimum period of 28 days, and surveillance indicated the absence of infection.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said bird flu spreads among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry as well as other bird and animal species.
It said bird flu viruses do not normally infect humans but it also noted that sporadic human infections with avian influenza viruses have occurred. (PNA)