Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Avian Influenza Outbreak: Not Likely from Migratory Birds

The recent outbreak of Avian Influenza in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija was not likely brought by migratory birds. This was disclosed by Carlo Custodio, a consultant of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) said. 

In a roundtable discussion organized by the National Research Council last month, it was stated that migratory birds should not be automatically blamed for the spread of Avian Influenza. 

“Avian influenza in the Philippines is not traceable to migratory birds. Do not blame the migratory birds as they are victims, too (of the infection),”  Custodio said. 

Entitled “Avian Influenza – How do we Prevent its Entry and Spread: Policy Implications Towards Early Detection, Management and Mitigation,” the forum was held on last month at the Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila.

The first and last recorded incident of Avian Influenza was in 2006 and yet migratory birds have been annually migrating to the country from temperate climes. 

Custodio said that global multi-agency Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds had issued a statement against unjustly and unfairly blaming wild birds for AIV incidences around the world.

According to the Scientific Task Force’s statement, the H5N8 Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreaks are associated with intensive domestic poultry production. The statement was   issued last December 2016

The effect of the wrong attribution of Pathogenic Avian Influenza to migratory birds have resulted in mortality and conservation issues.

The task force has said that attributing the spread of HPAI viruses to wild birds has resulted in mortality and conservation issues.

“The specific role of wild birds particularly in the long-distance transmission of the virus, if existent, remains unclear,” Custodio disclosed and was based on  the task force’s Dec. 20, 1996 statement.

The outbreak led to the deaths of 34,000 chickens and another 500,000 were culled so as to prevent the spread of the virus to other poultry farms.

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