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Chickens from Kelantan safe to consume, says ministry

PETALING JAYA: Chickens from Kelantan are safe to be eaten but they must be properly cooked, said the Health Ministry following the Influenza A (H5N1) outbreak.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the World Health Organisation had said that chickens and chicken products are safe to be eaten if they are cooked at a temperature more than 70°C as the virus will be killed at that temperature.

The ministry also said that as of Wednesday no H5N1 cases have been detected in humans.

On Wednesday, Kelantan declared a state of disaster as the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 outbreak had spread to four districts within days.

The virus had spread from Kampung Pulau Tebu in Kota Baru district to 23 villages in four districts.

The Kelantan Veterinary Department reported that there were no new localities with H5N1 from fowl samples.

The localities affected were Kota Baru, Pasir Mas, Pasir Puteh and Bachok, Dr Noor Hisham said.

He said from monitoring efforts, no new cases had since been detected.

“We have increased detection efforts in humans and monitoring is done within 300m radius from the place where the chickens had died and fowl tested positive for H5N1,” he said.

Monitoring had been carried out on 3,556 residents, 133 health personnel and 117 veterinary personnel and other agencies.

“From the monitoring, 14 people had symptoms but tested negative for H5N1 and were given antiviral treatment,” Dr Noor Hisham added.

Bird flu symptoms include high fever (more than 38°C), sore throat, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain or tiredness.

Kelantan Malaysia Civil Defence Force office director Zainuddin Hussin denied that the H5N1 situation in Kelantan was a state disaster.

“The H5N1 situation is under control. There is no need to panic as action is being taken to prevent the spread,” he said yesterday.

He said there were only one or two chickens that were found to be infected in each area but they had to cull all the chickens within 1km radius as a preventive measure.