DA-DOH join forces on bird flu preparation
Banga, Aklan -- The Department of Agriculture, Regional Field Unit (DA RFU) 6 and the Department of Health (DOH) 6 join forces on the conduct of Avian Infuencia (AI) or Bird Flu Preparedness and Response Planning Workshop for the provinces of Aklan and Antique agricultural and health technicians. The four-day workshop which started on September 12, 2006 was divided into two seetings wherein the first two days was attended by participants coming from Antique and the remaining two days from the province of Aklan.
OIC Regional Executive Director Jindra Linda L. Demeterio of DA 6 said that the preparation for possible avian influenza infection in the region is intensified considering that Western Visayas has numerous critical areas frequently visited by migratory birds. These critical areas are located in the provinces of Negros Occidental and Capiz.
"The Northern Hemisphere is now approaching winter season and that many species of migratory birds are moving south for better weather. These birds are primary source of avian influenza virus which affects our neighboring ASEAN countries," she said.
The workshop aims to create awareness of the AI Prevention Program Manual of Procedures (AIPP Manual) and of safety measures to keep Philippines specifically Western Visayas AI free.
Ms. Perlita Mecha, Chief, Livestock Division said that the timeliness of the preparedness workshop will surely help health and agricultural extension workers detect early signs of AI infections.
"The exigency and urgency of our move to increase awareness and preparedness among rural health workers and municipal agricultural and extension officers of the 18 municipalities of Antique and 17 municipalitiesof Aklan is significantly needed to prevent the entry of AI virus in the region," she stressed.
Brid flu is a contagious disease of birds ranging from mild to severe form of illness. This is caused by influenza A virus where the influenza A/H5N1 strain affected some Asian countries and caused some human deaths.
Dr. Marie Jocelyn Te, DOH AI coordinator discussed topics on Preventive Measures in Human; Triaging, Referral and Transport of Suspected Avian Flu in Human; and IEC at the local level and risk communication.
She stressed that all suspected cases with closed contact to infected birds will be immediately referred, isolated and managed at referral hospitals within ten days and trace and monitor for any signs and symptoms of avian flu.
Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, cluster head, RESU – DOH 6 expalined that highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) occurs when virus infection transferred from birds to human, and when the infecion from human to human occurs it is called pandemic influenza.
Signs and symptoms of bird flu in human are fever, body weakness or muscle pain, cough, sore throat, sore eyes and may have difficulty of breathing in severe cases. Bird flu can be transmitted in chickens and other birds through direct contact with discharges from infected birds especially feces and respiratory secretions; through contaminated feeds, water, cages, equipment, clothing, broken contaminated eggs, smuggling of infected chickens, and infected migratory birds.
This can be transmitted to humans through inhalation or contamination from the discharges or feces of infected poultry.The workshop was attended by 80 partisipants from the two provinces and was conducted at the Agricultural Training Institute(ATI) conference hall at Aklan State University, Banga, Aklan.