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PIA Press Release

CV remains free of bird flu, FMD

By Minerva BC Newman

Cebu, Philippines (4 September) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) in region 7 has declared once again that Central Visayas is still bird flu and FMD free.

"There is nothing to fear that bird flu and hog cholera might spread in the region as it hit the hog farms in Bulacan recently. We have been closely monitoring the various animal farms in Central Visayas," Eduardo Lecciones, DA-7 regional director said in a media interview yesterday.

Lecciones added that the DA-7 is constantly on the look-out and are not letting off its guard in continuously monitoring these diseases among the various animal farms in the region. "We continue to immunize and vaccinate farm animals and we are coordinating with the various LGUs specifically those with livestock and poultry farms."

The DA regional director also revealed that a bird flu diagnostic laboratory costing more than a million pesos is now under construction and is expected to open anytime within the month of September.

The Avian Influenza Diagnostic Laboratory in Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga were among the recommendations made by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to be constructed to facilitate the detection of the AI-virus as well as for the immediate testing of specimens, he said.

According to Davino Catbagan, the regional head of the BAI-Central Visayas, presently, specimens and samples of poultry products are shipped for testing to the Regional AI-Diagnostic Lab in Pampanga, the very first diagnostic facility in the country to detect the bird flu virus.

These new diagnostic labs in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga were funded from a grant from the Japanese Trust Fund and when completed shall comply with international standards for a bio-safety laboratory that are capable of conducting various test to immediately detect the presence of the bird flue virus in both live and dead samples, Catbagan explained. (PIA-7) [top]

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