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Nueva Ecija barangay tests positive for bird flu

The highly-pathogenic H5N6 avian influenza or bird flu — which could potentially affect humans — has been detected in a barangay in Jaen in Nueva Ecija, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Monday.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said samples from a farm collected in Barangay Ulanin-Pitak were subjected to tests conducted last Friday, March 13, and results showed these were positive for avian influenza.

The tests were done after increased mortalities of 1,500 out of a total of 15,000 quails were reported in one of the farms in the area on March 9.

"The highly-pathogenic avian influenza is a disease of poultry that can affect humans," Dar said, but noted that the strain has not affected humans in the country so far.

"Globally, there have been only a few cases of human infections and all of these were reported in China," said Dar.

Humans are said to be infected through secretions from quails, but the DA clarified that there has been no human mortality from this so far.

According to Dar, the DA has since imposed a 1-7 protocol where a 1-kilometer radius will be the control zone, and the 7-kilometer radius beyond it will be the surveillance zone.

A total of 25,000 quails have since been surgically stamped out. —KG, GMA News