Junz Wong: Viral bird flu message unfounded

KOTA KINABALU: A WhatsApp message claiming an outbreak of bird flu in parts of Sabah is unfounded, said state Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Junz Wong.

"So far, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sabah has found that there was only one farm in Tamparuli showing an increase in mortality rates," he said.

The message warning the public to refrain from eating chicken also claims that numerous chickens at poultry farms in Telipok and Papar near here have died due to the virus, while the remaining have been culled.

However, state Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Junz Wong dismissed the claims, saying there was no indication of an outbreak of bird flu or chicken disease as circulated through WhatsApp messages.

Wong said the rise of chicken deaths there was believed to be due to weather changes as the farm is of a type which is exposed to the elements, said Wong.

He said it was still safe to consume properly prepared and cooked chicken at the moment.

"There is no (real) sign or indication that it's dangerous besides speculation (of such danger)," he said.

He said the DVS will however do further tests to see if there is any outbreak of any disease.