By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Negros Occidental Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has recorded a reduction in the consumption of chicken and other poultry products, following an outbreak of avian influenza or the bird flu virus in Central Luzon earlier this month.
In a radio interview over the weekend, PVO head Dr. Renante Decena said many Negrenses preferred not to eat chicken due to the bird flu scare, despite their information campaign assuring Negros Occidental is free from the virus.
Decena added the price of free range chicken has gone down, noting weak demand.
The price of eggs, meanwhile, has increased as the province has started exporting its excess supply of eggs to Panay island, which is currently experiencing a shortage of the product.
This week, Decena said the PVO will again check the pricing of poultry products in Bacolod and other markets in Negros Occidental, after the Department of Agriculture removed the shipment ban of poultry products from Luzon.
Meanwhile, the sample of the viral strain taken from Pampanga and shipped to Australia for analysis turned up to be an H5N6 type of the bird flu virus.
Although the virus has a “very low” mortality rate, authorities from the Department of Health (DOH) immediately conducted a medical check-up of all poultry farmers in Luzon who have made direct contact with their livestock, as the H5N6 strain can be transmitted from chickens to humans.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, meanwhile, also assured the public last week that the city remains virus-free./WDJ