20 October, Friday


Philippines reports first avian flu outbreak, to cull 400,000 birds

Health

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The Philippines plans to cull 400,000 chickens, quails and ducks after confirming the country’s first outbreak of bird flu, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol on Friday. The avian flu outbreak was detected in a farm in a town in Pampanga province, north of the capital Manila, which later spread to neighbouring farms. There has been no case of human transmission so far, Pinol told reporters.
 
“We will cull all 400,000 birds within a 1 km (0.6 mile) area. We don’t want diseases to spread,” Pinol said. The source of the disease and the strain of avian flu were not immediately clear. There were indications as early as April of bird flu hitting one farm, but the situation worsened in July, with around 37,000 birds dying during the period, Pinol said. He said he has informed President Rodrigo Duterte of the outbreak and a report will be submitted to the Paris based World Organisation for Animal Health.
 
The Department of Agriculture will hold a briefing at 0800 GMT. The Philippines is the latest country in Asia, Europe and Africa where the bird flu viruses have spread in recent months. Many strains only infect birds, but the H7N9 strain has led to human cases, including fatalities, in China.

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