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3-day ban on bird watching implemented in Candaba, Pampanga due to bird flu threat

A three-day ban on bird watching was implemented in Candaba, Pampanga as part of efforts to prevent the possible infection of humans with bird flu, according to a report by Sandra Aguinaldo on Saksi on Monday.

The ban started Monday, Feb. 22, and will last until Wed., Feb. 24.

Migratory birds avoiding the cold temperature in other countries have been visiting Candaba over the years, attracting bird watchers.

Local authorities are currently preparing for the protocol aimed at preventing the spread of H5N8 bird flu. 

The local government unit also advised people involved in breeding ducks to report any unusual symptoms or signs in the animals.

"May task force dito para i-monitor at umiikot sila at kinakausap ang lahat na may itikan dito," said Candaba Mayor Rene Maglanque.

The move came after Russia reported the first human transmission of the H5N8 strain of the bird flu to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Seven poultry farm workers in southern Russia were infected by the strain last December 2020. The patients are doing well.

The Philippines has been declared bird flu-free last month, referring to the H5N6 strain. Efforts are being made to bar the entry of the H5N8 strain.

Aside from Russia, the H5N8 strain is also observed in parts of China, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The H598 strain may lead to the death of birds.

In humans, the H598 strain may cause flu. 

Health authorities are hoping there would not be a human-to-human transmission of the bird flu strain.

"In the case of the avian influenza, if there will be a chance that this virus will mutate that it can now be able to transfer to survive in the human, it can survive in our body and mutate so that it will also be able to transmit to another human, then that is the dangerous part... It can be another pandemic," infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante said. BAP/KG, GMA News