THE Department of Agriculture (DA) suspended the movement of domestic and captured wild birds and poultry products as a precaution against avian influenza or bird flu.

The DA said the H5N1 strain of the disease has been detected in duck and quail farms in Baliuag, Bulacan and Candaba, Pampanga, respectively.

Additional cases were also confirmed in Minalin, Pampanga; Victoria, Laguna; and Bula and Sipocot, Camarines Sur.

The DA suspended the transport and movement of all live birds, including day-old chicks, day-old pullets, hatching eggs, ready to lay pullets, ducks and quails from Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, the Cordillera Administrative Region, the Visayas and Mindanao for 30 days.

Other suspensions lasting thirty days include the transport and movement of pigeons and gamefowls within mainland Luzon, Mimaropa, Visayas and Mindanao.

The operation of live bird markets has also been suspended for 30 days in Bulacan, Pampanga, Laguna, and Camarines Sur.

The transport and movement of eggs will be allowed, provided that risk mitigation measures are followed, including cleaning and ultraviolet light disinfection.

Separately, the DA banned poultry imports from Italy and Canada following bird flu outbreaks there.

The ban applies to poultry products from all of Italy and Nova Scotia, Canada. It covers domestic and wild birds and their products, including poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen.

In a report to the World Organization for Animal Health on Feb. 4, an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza was detected in Western Nova Scotia, Canada, affecting domestic birds.

In a separate report on Oct. 21, an outbreak of H5N1 was reported in Ronco all’Adige, Verona, Italy.

“Italy is not an accredited country to export poultry meat to the Philippines but there is a need to prevent the entry of other poultry related commodities originating from Italy that might enter the country through hand-carried products from international vessels or any other possible routes,” the DA said.

The department called for the immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary import clearances for products originating from those territories.

However, shipments that are in transit, loaded, or accepted into the port before the official communication of the order will be allowed, provided the products were slaughtered or produced before Jan. 16 if from Nova Scotia or Oct. 4 if from Italy. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson