Thursday, June 22, 2006

Malaysia Is Now Free From Bird Flu

PUTRAJAYA, June 22 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has been declared free from the bird flu, or Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus, which resurfaced early this year after it was successfully eradicated last year.
Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in making the announcement Thursday, said the declaration was made based on the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standard after there was no evidence of the disease three months after the last eradication and disinfection.
The declaration took effect yesterday, he said.
"Based on the OIE standard and also the result of the monitoring, the three months or 90 days have lapsed, so Malaysia is declared free from the HPAI or bird flu disease," he told reporters here.
Muhyiddin said the last report was sent to the OIE on June 19.
The first HPAI H5N1 case this year was detected in Kampung Pasir Wardieburn, Setapak, Kuala Lumpur on Feb 19, followed by the second in Kampung Changkat Tualang and Ecopark, Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort, both in Perak, on March 16.
The third outbreak was reported in Kampung Permatang Bogak, Seberang Perai Utara, on March 20 and the virus was also detected in birds and chickens in Titi Gantung, Perak, on March 21.
Muhyiddin said the success in eradicating the disease in the country for the second time was achieved through hard work from the ministry staff, especially those in the Veterinary Services Department, and support from various government agencies like the health department, Cityhall, local authorities, police, immigration, customs as well as the poultry farmers, importers, the media and the public.
However, the precautionary measures must be maintained in view that the neighbouring countries were still not free from the disease and this could pose a high risk to Malaysia, he said.

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