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Published: Wednesday April 29, 2009 MYT 7:30:00 PM

Swine Flu: Screening team stationed at Thai border

IPOH: A health department team has been stationed along the Malaysia-Thailand border to screen travellers entering the country through Pengkalan Hulu.

The move, said State Health, Local Government, Consumer Affairs, Environment, Public Transportation and Non-Islamic Affairs committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, was to prevent the spread of swine flu into the country.

He said the health department workers would quarantine travellers who suffer from flu.

“We will make them undergo medical check-ups,” he told a press conference here Wednesday.

Dr Mah added that this was amongst the state’s efforts to prepare for any eventuality of the pandemic reaching Malaysian shores.

To date, a woman in Thailand had been placed in quarantine for suspected infection.

“We are very well prepared to face any eventuality. Our hospitals are well equipped with at least 23,000 doses of tamiflu, an antiviral medication, and we have all our departments and personnel on alert,” he assured.

Dr Mah however urged the public not to panic for there had been no reported cases of swine flu in Perak or anywhere else in the country.

“We have also not received any reports from pig farmers in the state,” he said.

He added that Perak had a total of 143 pig farms rearing about 430,000 pigs -- 58 farms in Kinta Valley, 20 in Kuala Kangsar and 32 in Batang Padang.

“Our health personnel have already been sent out to these farms to conduct checks on the animals,” he said.

Dr Mah noted that the pig breeding industry in Perak was a lucrative one that contributed some 6.5% to the state’s gross domestic product.

“The industry also generates annual revenue of about RM462mil, which is 32% of the total revenue generated from livestock breeding,” he said.

Despite this, Dr Mah said the state government would not ignore the spread of the swine flu across the globe.

“We would like to advise all pig farmers to use masks to avoid any possibility of contracting the infection,” he said.

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