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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bird-flu hit fowl safe to eat, Health chief affirms

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IT IS safe to eat poultry products despite the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija as the H5N6 virus could not be transmitted by eating fowl eggs or meat, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said Friday.

She said the virus could not be transmitted by eating poultry products as it only enters the body through the respiratory system.

She said cases of the virus being transmitted to humans in the Philippines had yet to be reported.

The prices of chicken have dropped to P25 per kilogram from a high of P90 after the government confirmed the presence of bird flu in Central Luzon.

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to travel to Pampanga next week to eat duck eggs and chicken barbecue to assure the public those are safe to consume.

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Ubial said there had been no confirmed human case of bird flu since its outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga, on the first week of August. 

NOT CHICKENING OUT. Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial and two friends eat chicken and chicken products, hoping to persuade the consuming public that avian flu cannot be transmitted via eating chicken meat—a similar tour de force as that done days earlier by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol during a visit to one of the towns in Pampanga. Norman Cruz

She renewed her reminder to all those who had direct contact with infected poultry and had developed any flu symptoms  to report to the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units of her department’s regional offices and seek immediate consultation.

She also called on everyone to be vigilant, follow the advisories issued by government agencies and to know the right information about the disease. 

Thirty-four people who took part in bird-culling operations in Pampanga had been given a clean bill of health after been quarantined for exhibiting flu-like symptoms, Ubial said.

“They were promptly placed in isolation as part of precautionary measures to avert any possible human-to-human transmission of infection,” Ubial said.

“They were also started on the antiviral Oseltamivir while awaiting for the laboratory results from RITM. As of Aug. 24, all were negative for Influenza A H5N6.”

Of the 34, 30 are in Pampanga and four are in Nueva Ecija. They were part of the 258 persons involved in culling 470,640 birds in Pampanga. 

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