KUALA TERENGGANU: Alarmed by the avian flu situation, Terengganu will start taking cloacal swabs in bird-rearing areas in Besut, which borders Kelantan.
The state Veterinary Services Department will also ask the state government to gazette Terengganu as an “epidemic control state.”
Its director Dr Azizol Mohd Sharun said the gazette would mean that the movement of birds from one district to another was banned unless special permission was granted.
“We will take the cloacal swabs in certain locations in Besut, especially from birds reared by those known to have dealings with people in Kelantan or Thailand.
“We are taking precautionary steps following the detection of the bird flu in four districts in Kelantan,” he said, adding that no avian flu cases had been detected in the state so far.
Visiting Besut later, Dr Azizol announced the setting up of three rapid action teams – in Besut, Kuala Terengganu and Kemaman – to tackle the problem.
A check showed that roadblocks had been set up in Jertih town, Kampung Lampu Bridge and Kuala Besut to monitor the movement of birds.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the authorities would step up surveillance on birds brought into the country by land or sea.
“I appeal to the people not to smuggle in chicken from Thailand or Kelantan as there will be serious problems if the avian flu virus is detected here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi dismissed talk that the rise in bird flu cases in Kelantan would affect the tourism industry.
“We hope that foreign tourists could be given a clear picture that these cases are isolated, and is not widespread throughout the country,” he told reporters after launching a symposium in Kuala Lumpur.
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