KE­LAN­TAN AVIAN FLU UN­DER CON­TROL

New Straits Times - - News - SU­LAIMAN JAA­FAR AND ADRIAN LAI KOTA BARU news@nst.com.my

THE avian flu H5N1 in Ke­lan­tan is un­der con­trol and no new cases have been re­ported since the last one on March 2, said state Agri­cul­ture, Agro-based In­dus­try and Biotech­nol­ogy Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Che Ab­dul­lah Mat Nawi.

He said the first case was de­tected in Kam­pung Pu­lau Tebu in Tun­jong here on Feb 28 and two more cases two days later in­volv­ing 15 free-range chick­ens or

ayam kam­pung.

“From the 15 chick­ens, five tested pos­i­tive for H5N1. The case is lim­ited to one vil­lage.

“No new cases were re­ported else­where,” he said af­ter chair­ing an an­i­mal dis­ease con­trol ac­tion com­mit­tee meet­ing here yes­ter­day.

Present was Ke­lan­tan Vet­eri­nary De­part­ment deputy di­rec­tor Dr Ma­zlan Mohd Salleh.

Ab­dul­lah said 227, or 80 per cent of birds in the vil­lage, had been culled, and 253 eggs de­stroyed since then.

He said the ex­er­cise was ex­pected to be com­pleted by to­mor­row.

“The culling is done mostly at night as most house own­ers are work­ing dur­ing the day and it is eas­ier to catch the birds at the time. Birds that sleep high up in trees are shot.”

He said the Vet­eri­nary De­part­ment staff went around the vil­lage to is­sue no­tices dur­ing the day and in­form­ing house own­ers of the culling.

He said be­sides free-range chick­ens, other birds culled in­cluded ducks, geese, pi­geons and guinea fowl.

He said the de­part­ments in­volved had taken im­me­di­ate mea­sures, in­clud­ing plac­ing police road­blocks within a 1km ra­dius of the vil­lage.

Road­blocks were also set up at the bor­der of Ke­lan­tan and other states to en­sure the birds from the vil­lage were not taken out.

He said ve­hi­cles leav­ing the vil­lage were dis­in­fected.

“Health teams from the district of­fice have gone to meet res­i­dents within 300m of the af­fected houses to en­sure no one is down with fever or flu. So far, the re­sults are neg­a­tive,” he said.

Ke­lan­tan last recorded a mass out­break of avian flu in 2004, when thou­sands of birds were culled.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Health Min­istry, mean­while, was look­ing for the cause of the out­break and whether the H5N1 virus could have orig­i­nated from Thai­land.

Its min­is­ter, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, said the au­thor­i­ties would take pre­ven­tive mea­sures to con­tain the virus in the state, af­ter the three cases in­volv­ing chicken were recorded in one vil­lage.

He said there were no re­ports of hu­mans in­fected by the virus.

“The in­fec­tions came from (a vil­lage in) north­ern Ke­lan­tan.

“I was in­formed that chick­ens within a 2km ra­dius are be­ing culled to en­sure that the dis­ease does not spread,” he said at Par­lia­ment lobby here yes­ter­day.

He ad­vised peo­ple han­dling chicken in nearby ar­eas to take mea­sures to en­sure the virus did not spread to them.

“We will be on standby to see if peo­ple in that area dis­play flu­like symp­toms.”

PIC BY ZAMAN HURI ISA

Ke­lan­tan Agri­cul­ture, Agro-based In­dus­try and Biotech­nol­ogy Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Che Ab­dul­lah Mat Nawi says no new cases of H5N1 have been re­ported since March 2 in the state.

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