IT is certainly reassuring to note that there has been no human infection of the avian influenza virus in the Philippines despite the bird flu outbreak in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said none of those who came in direct contact with the affected fowls in the two Central Luzon provinces contracted the dreaded disease.
“Since walang nagka-bird flu among humans in close contact (with the affected fowls), we are so far clear,” said Ubial.
But Ubial was quick to explain that the Department of Agriculture (DA), headed by Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, will be in charge of announcing that the country is free of the virus.
Reports said that it will take up to 90 days before the Philippines officially declares that it is completely free of the avian flu virus.
Last August 13, Piñol, a former newspaperman and a three-term governor of North Cotabato, announced the outbreak of the avian flu influenza in a quail farm in San Luis, Pampanga.
Outright, the DA and the Department of Health (DoH) teamed up to cull all fowls within the one-kilometer quarantine radius in the affected areas in the two neighboring provinces.
On August 24, the agriculture secretary said the culling of all fowls in Pampanga had been completed. Military personnel also helped in the killing of fowls in the affected areas.
Without doubt, the culling of chickens, ducks and quails in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, which was participated in by specially-trained military personnel, was a disgusting sight.
Through quiet work, the DA, DoH and other concerned offices and agencies, including local government units, showed that they are capable of preventing the spread of bird flu and other dreaded diseases.
Of course, with the help of the people themselves.