DA: Bird flu strain in Pampanga 'could be' transmittable to humans

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2017 02:01 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2017 03:33 PM

MANILA - The Department of Agriculture on Thursday confirmed that the bird flu strain found in Pampanga was an H5N6, a virus that is transmittable to humans.

"The strain tested positive for H5N6 that could be transmitted to humans, but the rate of mortality and transmission is very, very low," Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, Bureau of Animal Industry head for Animal Disease Control Section, said in a press conference.

"Mas mababa ito kaysa sa H1N1. Since 2014, wala pang 20 ang namamatay, mostly from China," she said.

Vytiaco said no Filipino has tested positive for the virus.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said they are coordinating with the Heath Department to ensure that farmers from San Luis, Pampanga and the towns of San Isidro and Jaen in Nueva Ecija will not be infected by the virus.

"There is no vaccine for the virus because we cannot develop a cure since we did not have a strain before," Piñol said.

The Department of Agriculture has yet to trace how the virus managed to enter the Philippines via Central Luzon.

At least 600,000 fowls have been culled in Pampanga and about 200,000 more from Nueva Ecija in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.