Malacañang called on the public on Saturday to remain calm but vigilant as the Department of Agriculture (DA) declared a bird flu outbreak in Pampanga.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in Pampanga following the confirmation of bird flu outbreak yesterday by the Department of Agriculture,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Abella called on residents near the affected areas or those who have been exposed to dead chickens to immediately go to their local health center or nearest hospital for laboratory tests once they experience flu or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, or cough.
He assured the public, however, that “properly cooked chicken meat and eggs remain safe to eat” as the virus can only be transmitted through respiratory routes.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol confirmed on Friday that about 200,000 chickens in San Luis, Pampanga had been infected by the H5 strain of the avian flu virus. The virus can be fatal to humans when infected.
Abella said the Department of Health (DOH) is assisting the DA in investigating and containing the outbreak, including providing flu vaccinations and protective equipment for poultry handlers and responders.
Heightened surveillance for flu-like syndromes is now instituted in Pampanga within seven-kilometer radius of the affected poultry farms, the spokesperson said.
There has been no report of bird-to-human contamination as of posting time, Abella said.
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