Thursday, March 21

Special team up to handle bird flu outbreak


Stephen Wong

SANDAKAN: The Health and People’s Well-being and Agriculture and Food Industry Ministries will set up a special team to curb the spread of the Avian Influenza (bird flu).

Minister of Health and People’s Well-being, Stephen Wong Tien Fatt said the special team would be working together to report on the case and the steps taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The affected areas have been quarantined and so far, no other place has tested positive for the virus. So everything is under control.

However, we are prepared for any eventuality,” he said.

Wong assured the public that there should be no reason to panic because both ministries are working closely together to ensure that everything is under control.

On August 3, Sabah recorded its first bird flu case after a farm in the Tamparuli-Tuaran area tested positive for the virus on August 2.

On Saturday, Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong said that special task teams had compounded all areas within one-kilometre radius of the farms detected with the virus and had started culling all its chickens on Sunday, involving some 28,000 chickens (excluding those reared by villagers).

Junz is targeting to curb the spread of the virus within 60 days.

No symptoms of bird flu have been detected on humans so far and chickens sold in the markets are reportedly safe to be consumed.

Meanwhile, the Sabah Department of Veterinary Services (JPV) needs one week to carry out the elimination and disposal of poultry infected with bird flu (avian influenza) in two farms in Kampung Kaulauan, Tuaran.
Sabah JPV Health Division deputy director Dr Peter Lee Ah Kong said the elimination and disposal works had started on Friday involving 1,000 chickens.

“JPV needs about a week to eliminate some 28,000 chickens that are found to have been infected with the virus at the farms.

“Members of the JPV involved in the elimination and disposal process have also been increased to cover the existing number of poultry,” he said when contacted by Bernama, here yesterday.

Lee said the elimination activity went smoothly and the briefing on the virus would also be given to the village chief and members of the Village Development and Security Committee to provide information to the affected people.

Last Friday, Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong declared Tuaran as an epidemic area for bird flu.