Cyprus Mail

Efforts underway to stop spread of chicken disease

THE island’s veterinary services are using all means at their disposal to contain an outbreak of Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) that affects poultry, a top official said.

Authorities have so far destroyed tens of thousands of chickens at three units located in Kokkinotrimithia, which has been placed in quarantine.

More birds belonging to one of the three units were culled yesterday.

“The matter is not so important from an epidemiological point of view,” vet services director Giorgos Kyriakides said. “Certainly it is of big importance from a financial point of view since it is in the exact same area. What would concern us… would be if the disease broke through the zone we are monitoring.”

“This is the important element and we are making every effort with all the means at our disposal to prevent the disease from spreading to other districts,” Kyriakides said.

The vet services chief could not say how many birds will be destroyed in total before the process was finished.

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.

The area contributes 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the island’s poultry.

Kyriakides said the high temperatures were helpful in that they hindered the spread but struck a note of caution since NDV was an airborne disease and could also be spread by wild birds.

Concerning the origin of the virus, Kyriakides said it was similar to the one in the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state in the north of the island and Turkey.

There were also recent reports in the Turkish Cypriot media speaking of NDV incidents in the Morphou area, which neighbours the affected farms, Kyriakides said.

“We are collecting other information, which we will evaluate and when we are in a position to announce where it (virus) came from we will do so,” he added.

The vice chairman of poultry farmers, Petros Mintikkis, said the virus had to be prevented from spreading “because then we will be speaking of the total destruction of poultry farming.”

Mintikkis said the affected farmers must be fully compensated for their losses, adding that some units may not survive the hit eventually.

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