3 May 2006

Tissue from dead chickens in Samoa sent to New Zealand for analysis

4:36 pm on 3 May 2006

Samoa's Agriculture Ministry says tissue samples taken from 10 dead chickens found in Maninoa Siumu are being sent to New Zealand authorities for testing.

The family which owns the poultry says the ten chickens died in the space of one week, and has raised concerns about the lack of response from authorities over the incident.

Moera Tuilaepa reports.

"The family says it tried to alert the health and agriculture ministries last week to get their chickens checked for the bird flu virus but they had no response. The chief executive of the agriculture ministry, Malaki Iakopo, says they are taking action now but his head vet cannot say at this stage what killed the chickens. He says the samples being sent to New Zealand will be tested for a number of diseases, including birdflu. Mr Iakopo says they do not suspect that it is bird flu but they are going ahead with the test anyway. Meanwhile, public health authorities are sending officers to the village to investigate the incident. The agriculture ministry is also looking into the family's concerns about the initial lack of official response."