PH 'ready' to combat bird flu outbreak, says Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2020 05:30 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2020 06:54 PM

MANILA - The Philippines is prepared to respond to the bird flu outbreak, Malacañang said Monday after a strain of the disease was detected in Nueva Ecija province.

Some 1,500 quail at a farm in Barangay Ulanin-Pitak, Jaen town were infected with the H5N6 "highly pathogenic" avian influenza, said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

Department of Agriculture Technical Spokesperson for Avian Influenza Arlene Vytiaco meanwhile said there is a "very, very slim" chance that the disease would be transmitted to humans.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said protocols are already in place to handle the possible spread of bird flu.

"Lahat iyan ng mga problema natin, naka-establish ang mga protocols natin diyan… Pinaghandaan na natin lahat iyan. Wala tayong choice kung hindi salubungin natin at gawan natin ng paraan,” he told reporters in Malacañang.

In 2017, some 200,000 fowls were culled in Pampanga province due to the virus.

“Kumbaga, sinusubukan tayo ng tadhana, we have to rise to the challenge of the times,” Panelo said.