As the world is scrambling to fight the escalation of the novel coronavirus, the Philippines has detected a highly infectious bird flu virus on a quail farm. According to reports, Philippine Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Monday said that a highly infectious H5N6 subtype of the influenza A virus has been detected in a quail farm and it has the same strain that hit the local poultry farms in 2017.
As per reports, William Dar said that the avian flu has been detected in Jaen municipality in Nueva Ecija province in the northern Philippines where around 1,500 birds have died in a single quail farm. Dar further added that a total of 12,000 quails have been buried alive to prevent the spread of the virus to other farms. Dar while speaking to the media said that animal quarantine checkpoints have been set-up to restrict the movement of all live stocks to and from the isolated area.
The statement by the ministry read, "The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) of Nueva Ecija received reports of increased mortalities of 1,500 out of 15,000 quails in one farm in Barangay. Ulanin-Pitak, Jaen, Nueva Ecija on March 9, 2020. Tests showed this was caused by the H5N6 subtype of the influenza A virus, or avian influenza."
"We will ensure that the incidence will be contained effectively and swiftly to prevent the occurrence of the unfortunate outbreak a few years ago. We would like to emphasize that this is a single case affecting one quail farm only," said the Agriculture chief in the official statement.
As per reports, the agriculture ministry is currently investigating to identify the source of the infection. The Department of Agriculture also encouraged the poultry stakeholders to report any unusual poultry mortalities to its municipal or city, provincial veterinary offices.
William Dar further informed that the bird flu is currently affecting only one quail farm in the province, however, surveillance will be carried out to ensure the flu hasn't progressed to other parts of the area. Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, a technical spokeswoman for the agriculture department has said that the chances of transmission to humans are very low as it is only possible through excretion or secretion.
The Philippines like all other countries in the world was busy battling the COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed 12 lives in the country so far. According to reports, there are 123 active coronavirus cases in the Philippines, of which one patient is under critical condition. The Philippines on Sunday had imposed a partial lockdown in the capital Manila in order to prevent the spread of the virus.