BUSINESSES BADLY HIT DUE TO H5N1
Cook chicken well to protect yourself, says state health director
SHARIFAH MAHSINAH ABDULLAH KOTA BARU firstname.lastname@example.org
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.”
A Kelantan Veterinary Services Department officer holding a sample taken from a poultry farm in Kampung Apa-Apa, Pasir Mas, yesterday.