Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bird Flu in Perak!

Don't mean to alarm you guys but the following (unedited) is what I read in Malaysiakini:


The government today announced a new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in an eco-park and a village in Perak. The areas affected are the Ecopark in Bukit Merak Laketown Resort and Kampung Changkat Tualang.

Agriculture Minister Muhyiddin Yassin urged the public to stay calm and cooperate with veterinary and health officials to contain the latest outbreaks. The acting veterinary department director-general, Mustafa Jalil, said the two areas affected were far from each other.

In the first case, routine surveillance on a nature reserve at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, with 249 birds of 30 species kept in an enclosed area, showed the presence of the virus. Mustafa said authorities were still trying to confirm the number of birds killed in the park. Samples were sent on March 9 and confirmed positive on March 15.

In the second case nine free-range chickens were found dead in Changkat Tualang village on March 11 and tested positive for the H5N1 strain on March 15.

"All efforts are being done to control the disease from spreading and we believe the action taken will be able to overcome the disease," Mustafa quoted Muhyiddin as saying.

Kamaruddin Mat Isa, head of the veterinary department's disease control unit, said officials were in Perak investigating the situation. The director of the Health Ministry's disease control unit, Ramlee Rahmat, said health officials would be immediately deployed to check for people in surrounding areas displaying any symptoms of the disease.

"We have to cover a 300-metre radius around that area to look for human (cases), especially those who have been exposed to the birds," he said. Any people found with symptoms will be isolated for observation, he said.

H5N1 was detected last month in 40 free-range chickens in four villages in Gombak, north of Kuala Lumpur, the first outbreak in over a year.

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