The Philippines continues to struggle with the threat of avian influenza, with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) reporting six cases of type H5N1 bird flu since its first outbreak in February 2022. This has left the nation still subject to further outbreaks and far from being declared AI-free.
BAI Assistant Secretary Arlene Asteria V. Vytiaco has confirmed that the impact of the recent culling of 17,425 chickens at a commercial farm in Sta. Maria, Bulacan is not significant, as not all of them were in the active laying stage. Nevertheless, the cull was necessary to contain the spread of avian influenza to a certain area.
The outbreaks have involved quail in Pampanga, backyard gamecocks in the Cagayan Valley and Manila, ducks in Sultan Kudarat, and chickens in Bulacan. All of the farms involved have been depopulated to prevent further spread of the virus.
Ms. Vytiaco has cited migratory birds mingling with farmed birds as a likely source of bird flu. To help struggling poultry farms cope, the BAI is granting cash assistance of up to P300,000 per farm.
This grim situation is not new to the Philippines, which had already recorded outbreaks of avian influenza in 2017 and 2020. While efforts are being made to contain the spread of the virus and provide aid to affected farms, the ongoing threat of avian influenza in the country remains a serious concern.