MANILA – With no new cases of suspected bird flu infection detected as the surveillance period ended Sunday, the Department of Health (DOH) said the country has become bird flu-free again, even as it reminded stakeholders to stay vigilant.
“No new case. Basically (we can say that) after culling (period), bird flu-free na until (any) new case appears,” DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial said late Saturday.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) ended its culling of birds activities last Aug. 24.
During the culling period, all persons involved in the activities were included in the surveillance of DOH wherein their daily temperatures and symptoms of bird flu among humans were monitored like cough, fever, sore throat, muscle pain, among others.
Also, those who manifested symptoms were provided with prophylaxis while specimens of suspected cases were also tested in the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
So far, all of the 39 suspected cases among humans were all found to be negative of the virus.
The suspected cases were considered “exposed” to the secretions of infected birds that were culled since the secretions can enter accidentally in the eyes and mouth during the culling and handling.
As part of the precautionary measures, the DOH provided personal protective equipment (PPE) and prophylaxis (oseltamivir) while trained health workers helped in the surveillance.
To help allay fears, the agency also endorsed the consumption of poultry products and proper information about bird flu transmission among humans for better understanding of the public.