Bird flu has 'very slim' chance of human infection: agri dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2020 11:52 AM | Updated as of Mar 17 2020 12:45 PM

Watch more in iWant or TFC.tv

Bird flu, which recently hit a quail farm north of the capital, posed a "very slim" chance of infecting humans, the agriculture department said Tuesday.

An individual can only catch the avian influenza if he or she was directly exposed to infected fowls or had touched surfaces with their secretion or feces, said the agency's spokesperson for the disease, Dr. Arlene Vytiaco.

There was no incident of human transmission when bird flu prompted the culling of hundreds of thousands of fowls in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija provinces in 2017, she said.

"Very slim po ang change ng transmission sa human," she told DZMM.

(The chances of human transmission are very slim)

A total of 24 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with the H5N6 virus, including 7 deaths, have been reported from China since 2014, the WHO said in March 6 report.

The same virus strain was detected at a quail farm in Jaen, Nueva Ecija, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said Monday. Some 12,000 quail were culled in the area, added Vytiaco.

Authorities are still investigating the outbreak's cause but this is likely due to migratory birds, which have just flocked to the area, she said.

Dar said he had banned the sale of quail meat and eggs within the infected farm's 1-kilometer radius.

Vytiaco urged the public to practice frequent handwashing and avoid contact with live birds.