Phuket is “bird flu free’ – Livestock Office chief

PHUKET CITY: Phuket is 100% free of H5N1 bird flu, says the island’s top government authority on the disease.

Dr Sunart Wongvorachart, who heads the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO), told the Gazette that his officers last month began an inspection and sterilization program at 17 local poultry farms, where samples were collected and sent for laboratory analysis.

Thus far, all results have been negative for the H5N1 virus that causes the disease.

In the upcoming Chinese New Year PPLO officers will check slaughterhouses and distribute food safety inspection stickers to qualified farms and abattoirs, he added.

There are 500,000 chickens on the island, of which 300,000 are laying hens. As this is insufficient to meet demand, birds are imported to the island.

However, bird flu has never been a problem in Phuket, Dr Sunart said. “For chickens imported from outside Phuket, we have vet officers standing by 24 hours a day a Tah Chat Chai checkpoint. We have maintained strict checks since January 2004, so we are confident that Phuket is free from bird flu.”

However, he advised consumers to, “Try to buy chickens with stickers from the Livestock Department. They are safest, guaranteed free from bird flu. We issue stickers only to quality shops and slaughterhouses.”

Phuket News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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