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Bird Flu Alert, Rabies Outbreak, and Swine Industry Initiatives

Livestock and poultry face threats from bird flu and rabies outbreaks. Swine industry initiatives aim to counter African Swine Fever and El Niño effects, supporting farmers amid challenges.

Image Source: Department of Agriculture (DA)

Bird Flu Alert and El Niño Heatwave Effects in Poultry

On March 31, 2024, two municipalities established task forces to prevent the spread of the disease in their respective areas after detecting the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) virus or bird flu in Kananga, Leyte. Mayor Bernardino Tacoy created Task Force Lipad, focusing on livestock management, biosecurity, vaccination, public awareness, and disease control within the municipality of Matag-ob. Meanwhile, Mayor Ramon Oñate instituted measures in Palompon, including banning live domestic and wild bird entry and monitoring poultry meat sales. The Department of Agriculture (DA) confirmed the bird flu in Kananga, with the affected breeder farm culling 60,000 poultry heads. Despite this, the DA assured the public that the situation was under control.

Aside from the bird flu scare, high temperatures brought by El Niño in General Santos City led to the death of over 100 chickens at a poultry farm. More than ten deaths occurred daily due to the intense heat. Poultry farm owners are now implementing necessary precautions to protect the remaining chickens from the extreme temperatures.

Rabies Outbreak Affects Human, Swine, and Cattle 

On April 2, 2024, the municipalities of Boac and Buenavista in Marinduque were placed under a state of calamity due to a rabies outbreak affecting humans, pigs, and cows. The outbreak started in Boac and has spread to municipalities like Gasan, Mogpog, and Buenavista. Provincial Veterinarian Josue Victoria reported two human deaths and 89 dog cases, with 42 testing positive. Suspected factors for the increase in stray dogs include releases during the COVID-19 pandemic. DOH advised locals of the province to consult a doctor before consuming pork or beef to ensure they are not infected with rabies. Rabies, transmitted through bites, scratches, or licks from infected animals, has a nearly 100% fatality rate once clinical symptoms appear. 

Boosting Swine Inventory amid ASF and El Niño

On April 2, 2024, the provincial government of Iloilo allocated Php 9 million to provide swine dispersal assistance to 15 municipalities unaffected by the African Swine Fever (ASF) and El Niño. This initiative aims to support farmers during the dry season and boost the swine industry’s inventory amidst ASF concerns. The budget covers the Php 6.93 million needed for the purchase of swine and the Php 2.07 million for feeds. Each recipient is expected to receive two piglets for fattening. The initiative comes as losses due to drought have reached Php 526.61 million, affecting various crops and the fishery sector. Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. stated that the assistance program will continue until May, with measures being extended as needed.

References: Casucian, J. (2024, April 2). High temperatures kill 100 chickens at GenSan poultry farm. GMA Integrated News. Retrieved April 2, 2024 from https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/regions/902390/high-temperatures-kill-100-chickens-at-gensan-poultry-farm/story/

Desacada, M. (2024, March 31). Leyte mayors create task forces vs bird flu. The Philippine Star. Retrieved April 1, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/nation/2024/03/31/2344206/leyte-mayors-create-task-forces-vs-bird-flu

Lena, P. (2024, April 2). Iloilo to disperse swine to help farmers cope with El Niño. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved April 2, 2024 from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1221858#:~:text=Iloilo%20Governor%20Arthur%20Defensor%20Jr.%20says%20in%20a,the%20PHP9-million%20budget%20for%20the%20swine%20dispersal%20scheme.

Relativo, J. (2024, April 2). 2 bayan sa Marinduque ‘state of calamity’ sa rabies; mga baboy at baka apektado. The Philippine Star. Retrieved April 2, 2024 from https://www.philstar.com/pilipino-star-ngayon/bansa/2024/04/02/2344772/2-bayan-sa-marinduque-state-calamity-sa-rabies-mga-baboy-baka-apektado

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