Philippines reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak on poultry farm

April 5, 2024 - 9:12 AM
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Photo from Philippine News Agency

 The Philippines has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, on a poultry farm in the center of the country, the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Thursday.

The virus killed 4,475 birds out of a flock of 60,529 on a farm in the province of Leyte, the Paris-based WOAH said in a report, citing local authorities.

“The affected farm is surrounded by rice field paddies and a river which are frequented by wild waterfowl. These free-flying wild birds could have introduced the virus via their droppings, as the first building to be affected was at the back of the farm nearest to the rice paddies,” the authorities said in the report.

Bird flu is carried by migrating wild birds and can then be transmitted between farms. It has ravaged flocks around the world in recent years, disrupting supply and pushing up food prices.

The Philippines’ farm ministry in January temporarily banned poultry imports from several countries including Japan, Belgium and France due to outbreaks.

— Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by David Evans