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.

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

ADRIAN LAI

KUALA LUMPUR adri­an­lai@nst.com.my

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.

NST READER PIC BY FARIS ZAINULDIN PIC COURTESY OF

A man show­ing the dis­posal site for culled birds in Kam­pung Be­tong Se­berang, Pasir Mas, yesterday.

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