DOH issues guidelines vs bird flu; public urged to be vigilant

Image from Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines)'s Facebook account
  • Health agency issued guidelines to prevent spread of bird flu
  • Health secretary urged public to remain vigilant, take precautions
  • She also said DOH closely monitoring the outbreak, has resources to stem the spread

MANILA, Philippines  –  Amid the outbreak of bird flu in Pampanga province, the Department of Health has issued guidelines through Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial to prevent the further spread of the illness.

“Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing; wash hands often; take plenty water and juices. Have enough rest and sleep. Do not go near wild birds or go to farms with fowl,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted her as saying.

Ubial said those experiencing flu-like symptoms or body weakness for three or more days should have themselves checked at a hospital or health facility.

“If you have flu symptoms that last longer than three days or feel very weak, see the doctor or go to the nearest hospital for testing if it’s bird flu,” she said.

While explaining that bird-to-human transmission is usually rare but fatal, Ubial said the DOH has enough anti-flu medications and resources to help affected patients.

“The DOH has a supply of antiflu medication and commodities whenever regional health offices and hospitals will require these,” she stressed.

The health secretary also urged the public to remain vigilant and calm as the DOH is closely monitoring the situation in Pampanga.

“The Department of Health is now closely monitoring the events surrounding an avian flu outbreak in poultry in Pampanga, as reported by the Department of Agriculture,” she said. “A team of DOH epidemiologists has been dispatched to assist the DA in the outbreak investigation.”

Among their priorities, Ubial added, is to probe whether any people have been affected by the illness in the epicenter of the outbreak.

“We will now look for human cases who may have been exposed to avian flu strain in affected areas. Any person who becomes sick with fever and/or sore throat/cough and had exposure to these dead chickens should report to the local health center or nearest hospital for laboratory confirmation,” she said.