The Department of Health (DOH) announced that as of August 24, 2017, there has been NO confirmed human case due to Influenza A H5N6. Since the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) declaration of the bird flu outbreaks in early August, the DOH was able to identify 34 suspect cases (30 from Pampanga and 4 from Nueva Ecija).
Image/Philippines DOH
Image/Philippines DOH

They were promptly placed in isolation as part of precautionary measures to avert any possible human to human transmission of infection. Thus, they were also started on the antiviral Oseltamivir while awaiting the laboratory results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). As of 24 August, all were negative for Influenza A H5N6.

In Region III, the DOH has designated the Dr. Jose B. Lingad Memorial Medical Center in San Fernando City, Pampanga and the Dr. Paulino Garcia Memorial and Research Medical Center in Cabanatuan City as referral hospitals for assessment of suspect cases and collection of specimen for laboratory diagnosis.

In response to this current health threat, DOH is working closely together with the DA to ensure that poultry and poultry by products are safe for consumption. We at the DOH are doing everything to effectively respond to this infection. With our partners, we are actively disseminating public health advisories on the prevention of the transmission of bird flu virus to the human population.

In an effort to show that eating the poultry is safe, President Rodrigo Duterte ate chicken dishes in a boodle fight with Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, and Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda.

When was the last time you slept through the night?

“I came here just to eat the chicken and the egg and the baluts to assure the public na hindi ho delikado [It’s not dangerous]. Tapos na [It’s done],” Duterte told reporters.

More than 400,000 birds were destroyed in affected farms in San Luis, Pampanga, where the outbreak of an H5N6 AI virus was first announced earlier this month.