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Meat of chicken with avian flu if cooked, prepared properly is safe to eat —DOH chief

Published August 14, 2017 9:56am

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Monday said even a chicken infected with avian influenza, as long as it is already processed in farms, cooked and prepared properly, is safe to eat.

"Sakaling may nakalusot na nabenta sa palengke, wala pong fear ang meat kasi wala pong [avian influenza] virus iyon. Live chicken ang nakaka-transmit ng virus," Ubial said in an interview on Unang Balita.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Sunday announced that he has ordered a ban on the shipment of fowls from Luzon, particularly those from Pampanga, which is placed under a state of calamity due to an avian influenza outbreak.

"Kung patay na ang hayop, patay na ang virus," Ubial insisted.

She assured that chicken and other poultry products, including chicken and quail eggs, are cleaned by farm workers before being brought to the market.

Once cleaned, she said dead chickens are already safe for consumption as long as these are prepared and cooked properly.

Ubial also informed the public that in eggs, the avian influenza virus live on the shells. She said the virus can easily be exterminated by cleaning the egg shells.

On its website, the Department of Health (DOH) said that people should wash their hands properly after handling fowl meat and eggs from the markets just to be safe.

It also said that raw meat should always be separated from cooked food.

Also on Sunday, Piñol said that 200,000 fowls from farms in areas affected by the avian flu outbreak in Pampanga were slaughtered and buried.

Ubial said the slaughtered chicken were buried one-meter to 1.5 meters below the ground based on the principles of bird flu containment.

Very rare

During the interview, Ubial said that the transmission of the avian influenza virus from fowls to humans is a very rare.

She said that in Southeast Asia, there are only three recorded human infections of avian influenza, but these cases were fatal.

The DOH and the Department of Agriculture have taken samples from poultry farm workers in affected areas in Pampanga.

Piñol said that the samples have been taken to Australia for checking if the workers have been infected by the virus.

Meanwhile, Ubial said that hospitals in Pampanga have been placed under a heightened surveillance alert.

"Lahat ng detected influenza cases ay ire-report nila at kukuha ng sampling ang Department of Health," she said.

She assured that the government is already on top of the situation to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Agriculture department is already implementing a one-kilometer radius quarantine in every farms affected by the outbreak in Pampanga, mostly in San Luis town.

A seven-kilometer radius quarantine, covering seven towns around San Luis, is also being implemented.

Quarantine checkpoints have also been set up around Pampanga to make sure that all fowls will not leave the province. —ALG/KVD, GMA News


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