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Singapore steps up avian influenza prevention measures

By Aidan Fortune , 10-Mar-2017

Outbreaks of avian influenza in the region has led to Singapore increasing preventative measures
Outbreaks of avian influenza in the region has led to Singapore increasing preventative measures

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) has moved to reassure consumers that the nation’s poultry and poultry products are safe for consumption following an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu in the neighbouring region of Kelantan in Malaysia. 

In a statement, it said: “The current outbreak in Kelantan does not have any impact on Singapore’s poultry and egg supply as Singapore only allows import of poultry and eggs from the disease free zones in Malaysia – Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Perak. We do not import poultry and eggs from Kelantan as it is not an approved source.”

Singapore currently imports about 35% of chicken and 93% of ducks from Malaysia. Over three-quarters (76%) of its egg supplies come from Malaysia, while local farms account for the remaining 24%.

Speaking to The Star in Malaysia, state agriculture committee chairman Datuk Che Abdullah Mat said the police are helping prevent potentially infected animals out of the region.

“The Veterinary Services Department had since culled 170 avians including chicken, ducks and birds, and destroyed 100 eggs in the affected village,” he said. “Just in case animal lovers try to smuggle the avians out of the vicinity to avoid culling, we have requested police to set up road blocks. This is a serious matter. We can’t take risks that would take a toll on public health and the poultry industry.”

Due to the “endemic” nature of avian influenza in the region, AVA has put in place precautionary measures including source accreditation, import control, routine inspection and surveillance at points of entry, local farms, poultry slaughterhouses and pet shops.

The AVA went on to say that even though there should be no impact from the Kelantan incident, it is stepping up measures to prevent the incursion of the disease. It has increased surveillance and inspections at the points of entry and alerted local poultry farms to beef up biosecurity measures, such as not allowing non-essential visits to the farms and ensuring that bird-proofing measures are intact.

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