Thursday, June 14, 2007

Malaysia’s fast response gets thumbs up from WHO

NST: PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s quick response to the bird flu outbreak has managed to contain it.
The rapid response has also prevented the disease from infecting humans, said Dr Han Tieru, the World Health Organisation representative for Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.
He said while some countries, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, were still struggling to contain their bird flu outbreaks and infection among humans, Malaysia had managed to avoid new outbreaks.
"There is good co-ordination and co-operation between the Health Ministry, Agriculture and Agro-Based Ministry and the Veterinary Services Department. The moment there is an outbreak, information is immediately imparted to the relevant ministries and quick action is activated to cull birds," he said when met at the KL-OIC Health Ministerial Conference 2007 yesterday.
He also praised Malaysia for its transparency in handling the bird flu outbreak, adding that local and foreign media and the public were notified earlier than the WHO.
Laughing, he said: "We get the news of an outbreak from the media. That is how transparent Malaysia is. The locals and people overseas will get a better understanding of the situation."
On the latest outbreak at Kampung Paya Jaras Hilir in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, Dr Tieru said they were monitoring the situation and he hoped Malaysia will be declared free of bird flu soon.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the 53-year-old man and his 45-year-old wife, from Felda Selanca 5, Rompin, Pahang, who were admitted to Hospital Segamat on Saturday for suspected bird flu symptoms were actually suffering from dengue.
They have since been moved to the normal ward.
The Kelantan Veterinary Services Department has taken samples from their chickens for testing. Six of the couple’s nine chickens at their farm in Kampung Tok Cik Dol, in Tanah Merah, Kelantan, had died.
Dr Chua said the two siblings at the Kuantan Hospital were still in isolation pending confirmation of test results from the Institute for Medical Research.
Initial tests done on samples taken from poultry in the Gambang area yesterday were negative for the bird flu virus. However, the final confirmation will only be known today.
To date, there has been no report of a high incidence of poultry deaths in the state.
A 9-year-old girl was admitted to the Sungai Buloh Hospital isolation ward on Tuesday, joining an 11-year-old boy admitted earlier this week. The boy is still waiting for test results from the IMR.
Up to yesterday, a total of 4,257 birds have been culled and 1,479 eggs destroyed. They belonged to 361 breeders.
The Veterinary Services Department, meanwhile, has extended its checks to a 10-kilometre radius from the infected site in Kampung Paya Jaras Hilir. So far, they have taken samples from 2,237 of the 10,506 birds checked which belong to 445 owners. All the birds tested negative for the H5N1 virus.

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