BUSI­NESSES BADLY HIT DUE TO H5N1

Cook chicken well to pro­tect your­self, says state health di­rec­tor

New Straits Times - - News -

SHARIFAH MAHSINAH ABDULLAH KOTA BARU shar­i­fahmah@nst.com.my

CH I C K E N - R E L AT E D busi­ness and trad­ing in the state are bear­ing the brunt of the H5N1 out­break. Ca­ter­ing busi­ness owner Khadi­jah Abdullah said her cus­tomers were choos­ing other meat dishes in place of chicken as they were afraid.

The 26-year-old, who op­er­ates Habib Ca­ter­ing, said the change in pref­er­ence could be seen from early this week, fol­low­ing re­ports that the avian flu had af­fected four dis­tricts in Ke­lan­tan.

“I nor­mally re­ceive or­ders for chicken curry for wed­ding or other func­tions. But, since Sun­day, many had or­dered beef curry in­stead.

“I be­lieve the out­break had caused fear among not only my clients, but also other peo­ple,” said Khadi­jah.

Whole­saler Suhaiza Ab­dul Rahim, 42, said the de­mand for live chicken had dropped.

“Pre­vi­ously, I could sell be­tween 30 and 40 chick­ens a day. Now, sales have dropped by half.”

She be­lieves the loss is due to the out­break.

Ke­lan­tan health di­rec­tor Datuk Dr Ah­mad Razin Ah­mad Ma­her said con­sumers should eat food that was well-cooked to avoid in­fec­tion.

“Hu­mans can only be in­fected if the food is not well cooked.

“Con­sumers must en­sure the food that they eat must be cooked to 70°C and above, or for about 30 min­utes.

“There is no bird flu risk for con­sumers from prop­er­ly­cooked poul­try,” he said.

The highly path­o­genic avian flu will sur­vive if poul­try is not cooked at 70°C and above.

In Malacca , the state Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices Depart­ment and Health Depart­ment are not let­ting their guard down de­spite zero H5N1 cases in the state.

State vet­eri­nary di­rec­tor Dr Azlan En­gah said the depart­ment had be­gun car­ry­ing out tests on poul­try, par­tic­u­larly those meant for ex­port.

“We’ve gath­ered sam­ples and will con­tinue mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion. No pres­ence of the virus has been de­tected in poul­try farms here,” he said.

“We are pay­ing at­ten­tion to farms op­er­at­ing on a com­mer­cial scale as the virus could spread fast if an out­break starts.

“This is a se­ri­ous mat­ter as de­spite it be­ing con­fined to poul­try, it can in­fect hu­mans.”

Malacca op­er­ates a num­ber of large-scale com­mer­cial poul­try farms, in­clud­ing two op­er­ated by Thai com­pa­nies for ex­port.

Sev­eral poul­try farms de­clined to com­ment when con­tacted.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of one farm in Durian Tung­gal said they ad- hered to strin­gent hy­giene stan­dards set by the Health Depart­ment.

State Health Depart­ment di­rec­tor Datuk Dr Ghaz­ali Oth­man said pre­cau­tions had been im­ple­mented in the event of the flu be­ing de­tected in hu­mans.

“The pre­cau­tions and prepa­ra­tions are sim­i­lar. We are pre­pared for any even­tu­al­ity, but we hope that it does not hap­pen.”

PIX BY SYAMSI SUHAIMI

A Ke­lan­tan Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices Depart­ment of­fi­cer hold­ing a sam­ple taken from a poul­try farm in Kam­pung Apa-Apa, Pasir Mas, yesterday.

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