By George Psyllides
THE ISLAND’S veterinary services have quarantined a poultry farm outside Nicosia and will destroy around 80,000 birds following the outbreak of the contagious avian virus, Newcastle disease, it was announced yesterday.
Authorities say the disease posed no risk to public health as the virus is destroyed during normal cooking.
The vet services said around 80,000 chickens from the Mammari farm would be destroyed, pending lab results on 70,000 more.
“We have three flocks in quarantine,” vet services official Yiannos Ioannou said.
The disease has not yet been confirmed in two of the flocks.
The disease was detected a week ago and it is understood that the unit was stopped from putting its poultry on the market since.
Authorities have set up a three-kilometre quarantine around the farm and will also be monitoring the situation in a 10-kilometre radius as a precaution against the airborne disease.
All vehicles leaving the area were being disinfected yesterday.
The measures will remain in place for 20 days.
Newcastle disease is described as a highly contagious viral disease of domestic poultry, cage and aviary birds and wild birds.
It is characterised by digestive, respiratory and or nervous signs. The disease has a number of strains that differ in the severity of their clinical signs, ranging from unnoticeable infection to a rapidly fatal condition.
Human infection is very rare and it only occurs in people who come in close contact with the infected birds, not human to human contact. It causes mild flu-like symptoms and conjunctivitis in those infected.
Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyiallis has ordered an investigation into the affair.
“I have asked for an investigation to find the cause and where this disease came from,” the minister said.