All steps taken vs bird flu, Palace reassures public

Malacañang on Saturday reassured the public that all concerned agencies are taking the necessary steps to prevent the entry of the bird flu virus into the Philippines.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said an inter-agency task force is handling the entry of foreign nationals as well as livestock from other countries.

“Sinabi na ng DOH, handa na sila sa kahit anong banta ng bird flu. May inter-agency task force to handle ng pagpasok ng mga foreigner sa ating bansa, kasama rito and DOH at DA dahil sa livestock posibleng makalusot ang bird flu,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.

(The Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture had said they are ready to handle cases of bird flu. There is an inter-agency task force to handle the entry of foreigners and livestock from abroad.)

She said thermal scanners have been set up anew at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to make sure carriers of the bird flu or the A(H5N1) and swine flu of A(H1N1) viruses are isolated and treated.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF
BIRD FLU
Fever
Body weakness or muscle pain
Cough
Sore throat
Sore eyes and/or diarrhea
In severe cases, difficulty of breathing in a week’s time from onset

Read the DOH advisory on bird flu here.

“Baka maghalo ang dalawang virus, baka maging mas mabagsik, baka yan magsama
The A(H5N1) virus presents greatest threat to humans, as it had caused severe human disease and even deaths, the World Health Organization said. [See: WHO bird flu fact sheet]

According to the WHO bird flu fact sheet, the virus has crossed the species barrier [from birds to humans] at least in three occasions in recent years: in Hong Kong in 1997 (18 cases with six deaths); in Hong Kong in 2003 (two cases with one death) and in the current outbreaks that began in December 2003 and were first recognized in January 2004.

Valte said, incoming passengers found with virus or show symptoms of flu will be brought to government isolation and treatment facilities.

On the other hand, she said agriculture officials are on alert for the entry of livestock.

An earlier report on dzBB radio said the Agriculture Department placed its personnel on red alert in all ports of entry.

“Binabantayan ng ating kawani ang pagpasok ng livestock. So far sabi nila wala silang nakikitang namatay sa bird flu na chicken, duck or livestock (Our personnel are watching the entry of livestock. So far they have not detected bird flu virus in chicken, duck and livestock),” Valte said. – via LBG, GMANews.TV

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