Pangasinan

Newcastle Disease, not avian flu, killing chickens in Pangasinan

Ahikam Pasion
Newcastle Disease, not avian flu, killing chickens in Pangasinan
While both the Newcastle Disease and Avian Flu cause high mortality and drastic drop in egg production, only the latter affects humans

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan – The deaths of hundreds of chickens in various barangays in Labrador town, Pangasinan have raised fears of a possible Avian Influenza outbreak in the area.

But an investigation by the Labrador local government of the chicken deaths in Barangay Magsaysay led to discovery of the Newcastle Disease (ND) outbreak, not the Asian Avian Influenza (H5N1).

Dr. Joel Abalos, municipal veterinarian (OMVet) for Labrador town said they received reports from Barangay Magsaysay on March 4. 

His office immediately took blood and swab samples and sent these to the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Sta. Barbara town.

He said the results, which came in on Monday, March 7, confirmed the presence of Newcastle Disease.

Abalos said 600 other chickens have since died in big poultry farms in Barangays Bolo, Gonzalo, Poblacion, and Dulig. Abalos said the number does not yet include backyard poultry farms. He said the losses amount to P120,000.

No culling needed

Both ND and Avian Flu cause high mortality and drastic drop in egg production, Abalos said. But ND does not affect humans, unlike Avian Flu.

The OMVet said they would no longer consider culling the chickens as disinfection and vaccination can control outbreaks.

The OMVet will conduct a mass vaccination on Thursday, March 10, in affected Labrador town poultry farms.

Abalos said the ND could have been brought about by migratory birds, while hinting that local transmission was also possible.

Abalos urged poultry farms and backyard raisers to vaccinate their chickens annually to prevent losses. – Rappler.com

Ahikam Passion is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

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