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PIA Press Release

"Be vigilant, don't panic" - Region 8 avian flu task force

Tacloban City (1 December) -- Region 8 and the Philippines for that matter is still bird flu free and so there is really no cause for alarm. What is important is for the public to be vigilant and not to panic.

This was underscored by Department of Agriculture Executive Director Leo Caņeda, chairman of the Regional Avian Influenza Taskforce, who together with Dr. Nicolas Bautista of the Department of Health and Mr. Arnulfo Viojan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, was guest at the Panindugan TV talkshow of the Philippine Information Agency.

The public is requested to report to the nearest health office, any sudden death in chicken. If there is a 3% death of chicken in the farm and this death rate doubles the following day, it must immediately be reported to the nearest local government unit.

The public is likewise advised to stay away from migratory bird or any bird for that matter. The children must be taught not to catch more so, hold the migratory birds because the birds may be carriers of avian flu.

Furthermore, since the Region is still bird flu free, there is no reason why people will not eat chicken. Director Caņeda said that the public may eat chicken as long as it is well cleaned and cooked well.

Director Caņeda said that the Regional Avian Flu Interagency Taskforce is composed of the various government agencies and some private sector representatives. He said that at the moment, the Taskforce has already set safety measures and several committees that will implement the various work plan of the task force.

Among the safety measures set in order to prevent Bird flu from entering the country is the ban on the importation of live chickens and other poultry products from countries affected with bird flu, Director Caņeda revealed. Right now, there is also a ban on the importation of cage and pet wild birds from countries affected with bird flu.

In the region, daily monitoring of major entry points open to international routes are being conducted to prevent the entry of any bird species coming from affected countries. Monitoring of the areas where migratory birds congregate is being done by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

There are areas in the Region which are now being closely watched because these are areas where migratory birds usually congregate. These are three barangays at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Carigara and Barugo.

Bird flu is a disease of birds which can be transferred to chicken. The signs of a sick bird are sneezing, cough, nasal discharge, fever, weakness, diarrhea, lost of appetite, swelling of the legs, the crown and wattle turn purple, ruffled feathers and sudden death. Dir. Caņeda said that the poultry farms are also being closely monitored because the region has a billion peso investment in poultry production and it cannot afford to have this contaminated with bird flu. (PIA 8) [top]

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