Poultry, humans immune to foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease, Chong told

Dr Adrian Susin Ambud

KUCHING, May 17: Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak has schooled Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen that foot-and-mouth (FMD) does not affect poultry and humans as it is different from Hand-Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD).

According to DVS director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud, the difference between FMD and HFMD is that FMD is a viral disease that affects all cloven-hoof animals such as cattle, buffalo, pigs, goats, sheep, deer and other ungulates, whereas HFMD is caused by the Coxsackie virus, which can affect humans.

However, he assured that his department would investigate and take the necessary actions on fresh milk sold in Sarawak to ensure that it would remain free from FMD.

“But be rest assured that DVS Sarawak is fully committed to maintaining its FMD-free status granted by World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in May 2004. DVS Sarawak will continue to strengthen our enforcement activity to ensure that milk and milk products imported into the state meet the requirement of the import permit,” he stressed.

Dr Adrian was commenting on a statement made by Chong yesterday, where he urged Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land & Regional Development, to ban the import of fresh milk from West Malaysia as it is not free from FMD.

Chong had said that despite DVS issuing a circular that Sarawak is free of FMD, fresh milk products from West Malaysia were still sold in Sarawak, which he claimed could contaminate its poultry sector.

“On the allegation made by YB Chong, DVS Sarawak will investigate the matter and will take necessary action towards the products to assure that Sarawak remains FMD free,” he assured.

Dr Adrian said among the documents required for importation of milk or milk products are as follows: Certificate of Freedom of Country or State from Disease – For the past twelve (12) months prior to and till the date of export (Foot and Mouth disease, Pestes des pestits ruminants, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease), Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia, Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia; Veterinary Health Certificate attesting that the milk and milk products are free from tuberculosis and all the necessary precautions were taken after processing to avoid contact of products with any potential sources of FMD virus.

“The restrictions mentioned above do not apply to the following dairy products: UHT, yoghurt, milk powder, cheese, butter, cream, ice-cream containing milk, and condensed milk,” said Dr Adrian. — DayakDaily