virus in migrant birds- anti-avian flu task force member
posted 12:10 pm (Mla. time)
Date: Dec. 26, 2005
By: Christian Esguerra
birds have arrived in the country and none of them has
shown any sign of avian influenza, according to a member
of the National Anti- Avian Influenza Task Force. An
outbreak of thedeadly virus however could still be triggered
by other sources, said Mayor Jerry Pelayo of Candaba
town in Pampanga province.
winter in China, Japan, and Korea and migratory birds
trying to escape the unbearable cold there, have all
landed in the Philippines, said Pelayo.
October, tests conducted on the birds by the Department of
Agriculture have yielded negative results for any bird flu
strain, said Pelayo.
all arrived and none of them was found to be carrying the
virus," he told the Inquirer.
I feel we're already safe. We'll just wait for the birds to
leave. But I'm not saying that we shoul let our guard down.'
said Pelayo who was among the first to sound the alarm over
the possible arrival of bird flu in the country.
ever the virus hit, Pelayo said he was afraidthe Candaba swamp
could become "ground zero".
said an outbreak of the daedly HSNI strain would most likely
come from migratory birds that usually arrive in the country
in October and leave by February.
breakdown in port, customs or border security could allow
the virus to sneak in via smuggled fowl, Pelayo said.
was referring to the 12-hectare Candaba swamp, which is surrounded
by eight barangay (villages).
said the assessment was most likely true for the rest of the
25 wetlands in the country.
Lu, president of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, agreed
with the Candaba Mayor, saying that a clean Candaba also means
the absence of infection for all other water birds or ducks.
because migratory birds would usually settle in Pampanga swampfirst
before flying to other wetlands in the country, he said.
added that Candaba was also vulnerable since the area was
surrounded by local poultry. Infection was particularly easy
among ducks because their feces were left in the water.
said there were at least 60 wetlands but agriculture officials
counted only top 25 for the national anti-bird flu campaign.
factor working in favor of the country is the "natural
barriers" formed by the waters separating China, Japan,
Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines, according to Lu.
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