Saturday, June 03, 2006

Departments on alert for bird flu

Star: JOHOR BARU: The state Veterinary Services and Customs departments are on the alert to ensure bird flu stays away from Malaysia.
Veterinary director Datin Paduka Dr Fauziah Embong said the department was monitoring all farms, especially those located near bird sanctuaries and had also spread the word to the public to be more alert.
“Last month, we held road shows in all districts and advised the public and farm owners to be transparent and report any suspected cases to us.
“At the moment, there is no risk of migratory birds coming to our shores because the migratory period is between September and October,” Dr Fauziah said yesterday.
She said should there be any report of suspicious deaths, the department would immediately visit the farm, investigate the case and conduct tests.
Dr Fauziah was asked to comment on the alert issued in the wake of increasing bird flu cases in Indonesia.
Department director-general Datuk Dr Mustapa Jalil had said that they had enlisted the help of the police and Customs Department.
A Customs official said the department had received instructions from their headquarters in March to step up security checks at all entry points.
Security had been tightened to ensure no Indonesian birds and eggs were brought into the country via ports and other entry points.
An AP report said Indonesia averaged one human bird flu death every 2.5 days in May, and might surpass Vietnam as the world’s hardest-hit country.

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