The Philippines will cull at least 200,000 birds after confirming its first avian flu outbreak, but no animal-to-human transmission has been reported, officials said Friday.
Global health experts are already monitoring the situation in the Philippines as bird flu also hit neighboring countries, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and China, the assistant secretary said.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the government is closely monitoring the situation in the affected areas to prevent the virus from spreading.
"We ask our people to remain calm yet vigilant", he added.
Meanwhile, wet market sellers such as those in the Balintawak market reported a decline in sales by as much as 50 percent, as buyers are shying away from chicken due to the bird flu scare, despite assurances that their supplies come from poultry farms outside of Pampanga.
On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol confirmed the avian flu outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga, which was traced to a quail farm.
Abella called on residents near the affected areas or those who have been exposed to dead chickens to immediately go to their local health center or nearest hospital for laboratory tests once they experience flu or flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, or cough.
Abella said the health department is helping DA in its "avian flu investigation and containment activities" which include providing flu vaccinations and protective equipment for poultry handlers and responders.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said he ordered the culling of all fowl within a kilometer (0.6 mile) of six affected farms in northern Pampanga province's San Luis town.
Abella also advised the public to properly cook chicken meat and eggs to ensure food safety.
Bird flu virus, according to DOH, could be transferred through respiratory routes.
He said that Dagupan is consuming thousands of heads of dressed chicken daily, sourced from the Malimgas Public Market, the privately-owned CentroMart and meat shops of various malls in the city.