The avian flu (Bird Flu) has not entered Sri Lanka and the general public need not fear to consume chicken and eggs, local health authorities emphasised.
The Ministry of Health has embarked on a ten-year programme to combat bird flu in case it enters the country.
`Though, bird flu is spreading at a low phase in Asian countries and European countries, this disease could be considered a threat in the next ten years. Therefore, it is timely that a programme to eradicate bird flu be implemented covering a ten-year period`, Health Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.
He instructed the Head of Epidemiology Unit Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe to take appropriate steps to face the challenge posed by the bird flu.
India was recently attacked by this deadly virus where one death was reported, he said addressing a progress review meeting, regarding the steps taken to address bird flu, held at the ministry auditorium.
The meeting was attended by hospital directors, officers from the Epidemiology unit, the director of Animal Product and Health Dr. S. Amarasekera, officers from the Medical Research Institute and the World Health Organisation Sri Lankan representative Augustino Borah.
The public is being misled by the statements made by persons not technically and scientifically qualified to issue such statements regarding bird flu, the Minister said. To date, there is no case of bird flu reported in the country. The fear to consume chicken and eggs is baseless. The disease spreads from one bird to another but man to man contact is unfound so far, he stressed. He emphasised that steps should be taken to educate the medical staff and the public on this issue.
The Minister directed the Animal Product and Health Director Dr. Amarasekera to widen the measures taken to investigate bird flu virus among birds.
The government conducts programmes to educate the public regarding the steps taken to prevent the spread of the bird flu and the available treatment procedures on a continuous basis with the assistance from the World Health Organisation.