: The public is urged not to panic over the avian flu (H5N1) outbreak in Kelantan as it is still under control.
Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the authorities involved in addressing the matter had taken various professional steps to prevent the disease from spreading to another area.
"So far, the H5N1 virus had only affected kampung chickens, while commercial chickens are still free from the virus.
"People do not have to worry about eating commercial chicken," he told reporters after attending a briefing on the outbreak at the Kelantan Veterinary Services Department office here Thursday.
The H5N1 virus was first detected in Kampung Pulau Tebu, Tunjong here on March 6 after samples taken from a few dead kampung chickens.
Ahmad Shabery said for Kelantan, as much as 70 per cent of commercial chickens were obtained from outside the state, while the remaining 30 per cent were from breeders outside of the affected area.
He said the supply of eggs (commercial) in the market in the state was 100 per cent from outside Kelantan.
"So far, six villages in five districts, namely Kota Bharu, Pasir Mas, Pasir Puteh, Bachok and Tanah Merah, were found to have kampung chickens infected with H5N1 virus," he said.
He said some of the preventive measures that had been implemented were culling of 28,000 birds, mainly chickens.
"Not all culled birds were infected by H5N1 but it was more of preventive measure to avoid the poultry from being carriers of the virus," said Shabery adding that the government provided a scheme to allow farmers of culled birds to get compensation to help reduce the losses incurred. -- Bernama