The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved the reactivation of the National Avian Influenza Task Force (NAITF) following recommendations of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

IATF Resolution No. 60 stated that the NAITF would be tasked to manage possible outbreaks.

It directed the DA to “strengthen coordination” with the health, environment and interior departments, as well as concerned local government units.

The resolution called for multi-agency coordination to sustain monitoring and surveillance of the avian influenza A (H5N6), intensify information campaigns on the safety of consumption of chicken meat and eggs, strictly enforce good animal husbandry practices and report poultry mortalities to DA regional offices.

The bird flu virus was recently found in San Luis, Pampanga.

The Bureau of Animal Industry has ordered the culling of some 38,000 egg-producing chickens to help curb the spread of infection.

Earlier, Nueva Ecija was declared bird flu-free, four months after the same strain of the bird flu virus was found and caused an outbreak four months prior.

Pampanga and Nueva Ecija were the same provinces hit by the 2017 Central Luzon H5N6 outbreak.

The 2017 outbreak caused 37,000 bird deaths and the culling of more than 600,000 birds. John Ezekiel J. Hirro