La Union heightens bird-flu watch
By Jessie R. Valdez
San Fernando City, La Union (7 September) -- The Province of La Union has been a bird-flu free zone. To help keep the province's status of a zero case bird-flu, the La Union Provincial Veterinary Office (PVETO) is always on the alert and vigilant in its daily routine inspection, field monitoring, surveillance of the disease and conducting massive information education campaign specially those living in identified critical high risk areas, Dr. Nida N. Gapuz, Provincial Veterinary Officer said.
Gapuz added that all the 19 municipalities and one city Bird Flu Task Forces in the province are ready with their respective preparedness programs and response plans of protection, prevention, detection and management in case an outbreak will occur.
"They are expected to double their efforts, to be more vigilant and pro-active for the sustainance of the province's status especially that the month of October is a migration season for birds", Gapuz stressed.
Relative to this, Gapuz also said that their office have collected 600 blood samples to 12 identified high risk areas, while other activities are still going on such as conducting strict border control thru regular round-the-clock 24 hour checkpoint operations, personnel were deployed to conduct inventory of animal by species and the number of birds per barangay and municipality, conducts pet shop disease surveillance twice a year while disinfection activities on a year round basis to prevent local poultry to be infected with the virus.
Further, Gapuz explained that regular meetings and close coordination with partner counterparts, veterinarians in the area and poultry raisers/producers are held regularly to keep them abreast of the strict implementation of programs against bird flu.
Gapuz disclosed that there will be a simulation program on September 17 headed by the Philippine Avian Influenza Task Force (PAITF) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) at the Organization Rehabilitation Training (ORT) here where some PNP officials were invited to update us on their participation on the control and prevention of avian influenza (AI).
Meanwhile, the Arroyo government will be setting up three more AI diagnostic laboratories in the Visayas and Mindanao to oversee the country's multibillion-peso poultry industry and to continue protecting the people from the dreaded virus.
In line with this, Gapuz said a diagnostic lab was also constructed in Pampanga and this is supposed to cater Philippine animal health for the whole of Luzon. (PIA La Union) [top]