A disaster for businesses
CHICKEN-BASED businesses and traders in Kelantan are the worst hit after the state government declared the H5N1 avian flu a state disaster. A wholesaler says demand for live chickens has fallen by half since the announcement.
KUALA LUMPUR firstname.lastname@example.org
THE authorities in Kelantan have mobilised more resources and are focused on containing the avian flu outbreak, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He said the authorities had initiated procedures to curb the spread of the H5N1 virus, which had affected at least 20 villages in the state.
He said the Kelantan government’s move to declare a state emergency would allow the state government to mobilise more resources to control the outbreak.
“That’s a declaration by the state government. This whole operation is being done by the Veterinary Services Department (VSD).
“Its concern is that it would spread to other areas, including Kota Baru,” he said at the Parliament lobby here yesterday, adding that more than 20,000 chickens had been culled.
He said VSD would follow standard protocols by identifying atrisk areas and look at possible infections within a 300m radius.
“We are lucky that there is no chicken-to-human transmissions. As such, we have to contain the infection within the chicken population.
“We also advise people who come into contact with chickens to practise good hygiene, so that the risk of them contracting the virus is kept to a minimum.”
Dr Subramaniam said his ministry would be on standby to treat anyone who displayed flu-like symptoms.
“We will do the tests. But, all tests have come out negative,” he said, adding that there was no need to prevent people from going to Kelantan.
The state government on Wednesday declared the avian flu outbreak as a “state disaster” under Order 20 of the National Security Council (MKN 20).
This outbreak in Kelantan has spread to three more districts — Pasir Putih and Bachok and Tanah Merah— besides Kota Baru and Pasir Mas.
Under MKN 20, the resources of departments in the state will used to control the outbreak.
Besides the initial three villages in Pasir Mas, 18 villages in the Kota Baru district are affected by the outbreak.
Page 1 pic: Kelantan Veterinary Services Department personnel culling infected ducks to curb the spread of H5N1 avian flu in Pasir Mas yesterday.
A man showing the disposal site for culled birds in Kampung Betong Seberang, Pasir Mas, yesterday.