The provincial Task Force on Avian Influenza has taken blood samplings of ducks and chickens in selected areas in Negros Oriental, in anticipation of the arrival of migratory birds this early in the year.
The blood sampling started in December and was conducted in the cities of Bais, Canlaon, Tanay, and Bayawan, and the towns of Manjuyod and Guihulngan, Solomon Cadiz, OIC of the Provincial Veterinary Office, said.
Blood samples were drawn from 30 heads of mostly ducks and some chickens in each of the areas, and sent to the national capital region for laboratory testing, although all yielded negative results.
These areas have been previously identified as the favorite temporary shelters of migratory birds coming from other countries to escape the cold weather.
Cadiz, however, said that so far, field technicians have not reported the arrival in Negros Oriental of migratory birds that could be possible carriers of the bird flu virus.
While neighboring countries have already been affected by the avian influenza virus, the Philippines still remains free of it, Cadiz said.
Meanwhile, only small-time farmers raising ducks and chickens have been targeted for blood sampling as their fowls are more vulnerable to coming into contact with migratory birds as they roam freely out in open fields.
Breeders of broiler chickens for public consumption, such as some poultry farms in Dumaguete and San Jose town, are exempted from the bird flu virus blood sampling as these fowls are kept in enclosures, Cadiz explained.
He also urged local government units and the public to help monitor unusual deaths of ducks and chickens in their areas, especially in the coming months when migratory birds begin arriving in Negros Oriental.*JFP
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