A couple of days ago, the news were filled with instantaneous instances of bird flu. Last week, the Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed the outbreak of avian influenza virus (bird flu), in San Luis, Pampanga. They said that it was the first case of our country. Furthermore, the outbreak was spread and killed almost 40,000 poultry heads and placed the province in a state of calamity.
This outbreak was quickly spread; to control it, the DA banned shipments of fowl from Luzon to any part of the country. In addition to that, they also warned people to be wary of the chicken they eat especially if it came from unknown sources.
The Department of Health (DOH ) reported that there have been no reports of human being infected by the disease and that there are low chances of animal to human transmission of the disease. However, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a warning to refrain from approaching any migratory birds since the virus came from birds.
“We discourage the killing or poaching of the birds because this could just worsen the situation. Close contact with the birds will risk transmission,” DENR-BMB Director Mundita Lim said.
These government bodies tested specimens and confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5 has affected San Agustin in San Luis, Pampanga. 37,000 birds infected and killed covering six farms of poultry, quail and ducks.
What is Influenza A virus subtype H5N1?
Commonly referred to as avian influenza (bird flu), it is a subtype of the influenza A virus which can cause serious illness in humans and other animal species. A single strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia. It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area). This is killing a magnitude of birds and is spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread.
What are the symptoms of bird flu?
If any human is affected, the symptoms of this disease is slightly evident. According to the World Health Association, the usual signs are:
- Over fatigue
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Cough & colds
If the infection remains untreated, the infected could experience:
- Viral pneumonia
- Respiratory diseases
- Rapid deterioration
- Multi-organ failure
- Respiratory distress
The worst that could possibly happen is that the victim could die of these diseases. So, in order for you to just avoid the disease wholly, you need to know if a chicken is infected.
How do you spot a chicken that is infected by bird flu?
If you cook your own meat, chances are you would be able to see the chicken after cleaning it. However if you sell these chicken and buy them, you have bigger chances of avoiding bird flu. The symptoms of an infected chicken are:
- Respiratory distress
- Facial swelling
- Ruffled feathers
- Sudden death (no warnings)
- Decreased egg production
Ultimately, it is just best to avoid chicken while this virus has not yet been cleared out. If you own a poultry and gather and cook meat by yourselves, be wary of these signs. However if you eat chicken and you buy it cooked, you may not have an idea if the chicken served to you is good or not.
Although this is the case, Bounty Agro Ventures President Ronald Mascariñas shared some tips on how to spot a bird flu infected chicken.
In addition to the above, to prevent spreading, you must know how a human can acquire bird flu. Although these cases are rare, it’s still better if you play it safe.
When you get in contact with the infected chicken and you:
- Rub your eyes
- Put your mouth in/on your mouth
- Rub your nose
Healthy-looking chicken are not always healthy; they are in fact also in the dilemma of catching the flu. If an area is contaminated, it’s easy to expect that all chicken in that area will be infected.
Bird flu virus (air and dust)
When the infected chicken flaps its wings, scratches the ground, and shakes its head, the virus can blend in with the air or dust. This can then be inhaled by a human through his mouth or nose, causing the virus to penetrate the body.
What’s the best thing to do when there is an outbreak?
To ensure the safety, stay away from areas where chicken is everywhere. The virus can be airborne especially if the virus is continually spread. Furthermore, avoiding chicken for at least some time can dramatically increases your chances of being safe with bird flu.
Even though this is the case, the DOH and the DA assured the public that they are doing everything to contain the outbreak. The DENR will also issue a communication to all regions to intensify monitoring and surveillance at airports and seaports pertaining to the smuggling of wild birds.