Monday, February 27, 2006

Sabah on bird flu alert

KOTA KINABALU - All veterinary officers in Sabah have been told to carry out inspections on farms breeding chickens and other birds statewide following a report that seven chickens were found dead in Kampung Bukit Permai, Menggatal, yesterday.

State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail said the immediate measure was crucial in ensuring Sabah remains free of bird flu, Bernama reported.

"We've sent officers to Kampung Bukit Permai to take samples and bring them to a test laboratory in Kepayan.

"Even though the test result is negative, we've to take precautionary measures. I want all veterinary officers to inspect all areas that keep chickens stage by stage," he said.

Besides that, bird controls and inspections at all entry points in Sabah would be tightened, he added.

Abdul Rahim also said Putrajaya yesterday informed the state authority of a report about the death of over 150 chickens in Kuala Penyu.

"Once informed, two special teams comprising veterinary officers, were rushed to Kuala Penyu but they have not been able to locate the farm. Probably it was a hoax," he said.

He advised the public not to worry as the ministry was closely monitoring the situation and would take all efforts to deal with the possible spread of bird flu to Sabah.

He said the ministry planned to organise a simulation session involving various government departments including the customs and immigration in the middle of next month in Tawau to strengthen the cooperation in preventing an outbreak of bird flu.

Meanwhile, migratory birds stopping to feed in the Buntal Peninsula, about 40km from Kuching and near the popular Santubong beaches, were found free of avian flu in a recent census.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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