Sabah bird flu epidemic contained, says minister

Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong (centre) says Tuaran district has been declared as a bird flu epidemic area. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: One chicken farm in the Tuaran district was found positive for avian influenza (bird flu) and the Veterinary Services Department has declared the district as a bird flu epidemic area.

Speaking at a press conference here today, Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong said the department also disposed of all poultry within a 1km radius from the chicken farm.

This will be expanded to a 5km radius if the surveillance report found positive samples outside the initial 1km radius.

“The department’s enforcement unit will also ensure that no poultry products are brought out of the containment area,” he said.

Wong explained that the action was taken following a viral message on social media about the high rate of mortality of chickens in the farms in Sabah.

He said at the time, the department continued to test 939 samples from various farms and all of them were found clean from any disease.

The one farm found to return positive results for avian influenza was detected on July 31 by the department. This prompted the government to take swift action to contain the disease from spreading.

“I am happy to report that all chicken meat and eggs sold in the market are safe for consumption because they have all gone through stringent inspection before they are sold to the people.

“However, it is advised that all these products are cooked completely.

“I urge chicken farmers in the state to inform the nearby Veterinary Services Department offices if more than 3% of their chickens die at any one time.

“At the same time, I would like to assure the people that the epidemic is now contained and will be resolved completely within a month,” he said.

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