MANILA — The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) today advised the public to refrain from eating half-cooked chicken and eggs to ensure non-transmission of the bird flu virus from animals to humans.

DOH Spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag said that eating chicken and its egg cannot likely result in getting the bird flu virus because it can be killed by thorough cooking.

He said the bird flu can most likely be acquired by those who had direct contact with infected chickens.

“Pwede kasing pumasok yung virus sa ilong, bibig at mata (The virus can enter the nose, mouth and eyes),” Tayag said.

No human case of bird flu

So far, Tayag said there is no case yet of bird flu infecting humans in the country.

Symptoms can be in the form of fever, cough, and sore throat, he said.

“Wala pa tayong human cases. Ang bird flu po sa atin ay nasa mga manok lamang. Hinihintay pa namin yung kumpletong resulta subalit sa report po ng Department of Agriculture, lumalabas na ang strain po ay highly pathogenic bird flu strain sapagkat maraming manok ang namatay. Kaya kumikilos nang mabilis ang DA. Inalerto na rin po ang mga beterinaryo po nila sa buong bansa na i-report kaagad kung may ganitong uri ng sitwasyon sa iba pang lugar,” the DOH Official said.

The two poultry farm workers in San Luis, Pampanga who had manifested flu-like symptoms, have tested negative for avian influenza, Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial announced yesterday.

The results were released last night: the two were negative,” Ubial said, confirming that there is still no human infection of bird flu in the country.

She said the results of the nose and throat swabs and blood samples taken from the two patients and sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa, showed that they were suffering from regular flu.

“There are three types of influenza (virus): A, B, C — A is for birds, B is for humans, C is for pigs. The two had the B (virus),” Ubial said, adding that the two patients were however advised to continue taking the antiviral medicine provided by the health department.

The two were discharged from the hospital on August 14.

The two patients were among a group of poultry farm workers who were subjected to tests by the health department because they had direct contact with infected chickens. One reportedly had a fever, while the other had a cough.

Department spokesperson, Dr. Eric Tayag, said fever, cough, and sore throat are symptoms of bird flu.

He noted that those who have direct contact with infected birds, such as those who care, slaughter and dress chickens and clean their coop, and those who come near them are at risk of contracting avian flu.

The virus, which is found in infected chickens’ feathers, intestines, and feces, can enter a person’s body through the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Tayag assured that the chances of survival of bird flu patients are big, especially if the illness is detected and managed early.

He said the health department has been preparing for bird flu since 1997 and has stored sufficient stocks of Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) in case of any outbreak.

According to Tayag, based on records of bird flu cases in other countries, about 60 percent of those infected could die from strains which have mutated into new strains of the influenza virus. (Leilani Junio/PNA)


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