The H5N1 strain of the bird flu has been detected in a small city in Kelantan, but fortunately, it has been contained.
The bird flu was contained in Kampung Pulau Tebu, Tunjong, with no human victims affected as of Thursday (9th March).
Health minister, Dr S Subramaniam, confirmed the news, saying, “It is still limited to poultry stock and within the area affected, there is no report it has spread to other places.”
The strain was found among chickens at a backyard farm. Following which, more than a thousand poultry birds have been culled within a 2km radius of the area. This was reported by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
The ministry is also currently checking the source of the virus, which could have originated from Thailand. Subramaniam has also asked all citizens handling chickens in nearby areas to take preventive measures. Health officials will also stand by for those who display flu-like symptoms.
Malaysia’s health ministry has also urged the veterinary service department to tighten border checks at Thailand to ensure the containment of the virus.
Agro-based Industry and Bio-technology committee chairman Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Navi also confirmed that 8 people including laboratory workers have been exposed to the virus. They were quarantined at the Tumpat Hospital as a precautionary measure.
Yesterday (Wednesday, 8th March), Che Abdullah said that 3 cases in the village involving 15 “ayam kampung” had tested positive for the flu.
“The authorities including the veterinary department have taken steps to control it from spreading. As it is, the flu is limited to only the village. People should not panic and it is still safe to consume chicken. I have called on them (the villagers) to give their full co-operation to the authorities,” he continued.
The H5N1 strain has already killed at least 110 people in China. The virus has also been detected in Cambodia in recent weeks.