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DA set to review bird flu protocol

ILOILO CITY (PNA) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) will review next week the country’s protocol in responding to avian influenza, said Sec. Emmanuel Piñol Wednesday.

The current protocol followed by the government, according to Piñol, severely impacted the poultry industry. It required the closure of all poultry farms within the one-kilometer radius of the outbreak site and the banning of poultry products from within the seven-kilometer radius from where the outbreak was reported.

“We realized that by instituting the old protocol, we actually adversely affected the business,” he said.

He cited the experience of European countries where poultry farms within the one-kilometer radius are placed under observation instead of being shut down. Affected farms are then culled, he said.

However, he stressed the government should ensure that the problem is contained as it couldn’t afford to take chances.

He also noted that the “experience now has made us more prepared for any eventuality.”

Piñol said the government has succeeded in handling the bird flu outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga and Jaen and San Isidro in Nueva Ecija within 18 days.