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Tuesday February 21, 2006

Bird flu in Gombak

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government confirmed last night that the deaths of 40 kampung (free range) chicken at four villages along Jalan Genting-Klang here last week were caused by the H5N1 strain of the avian influenza. 

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the case was an isolated one and that the people need not worry as there was no human fatality. 

“Tests by the Veterinary Laboratory in Petaling Jaya and the Veterinary Research Institute in Ipoh confirmed the cause of death was due to the H5N1 strain,” he said in a statement to the Bernama news agency yesterday.  

News of the avian flu in Malaysia sent stocks of poultry companies on the Bursa Malaysia plummeting, with a few counters falling by as much as 20% (see StarBiz for the full report). 

Muhyiddin, who is in Dubai where he is heading a trade mission, said all 110 chickens in Kampung Pasir Wardieburn, Taman Danau Kota, Pekan Danau Kota and Kampung Belakang JPJ had been culled. 

“The Veterinary Services Department, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and the Health Ministry had initiated an immediate and integrated action to control the disease from spreading,” he added. 

Besides culling the chicken, the integrated action also included setting up checkpoints and patrolling the roads in the affected areas to prevent chickens from being moved out, he added. 

He said all chicken coops in the area would be disinfected, and urged the public to contact the department if there were any large-scale deaths of any types of birds. 

Selangor and Federal Territory Poultry Traders Association adviser Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng said the public should not be unduly alarmed as the Government had acted swiftly to deal with the affected chickens in Gombak. 

Dr Lee said it was possible that the villagers smuggled in fighting roosters from Thailand and that these birds might have infected the kampung chickens. 

He stressed that the public should not overreact and that chickens were still safe for consumption as no commercial chickens were involved. 

Veterinary officials in protective gear taking away the chickens suspected of having the H5N1 strain of the avian influenza at Kampung Wira Jaya in Danau Kota near Jalan Genting Klang, Kuala Lumpur about 1am this morning. This culling is a precautionary measure taken by the authorities following a suspected bird flu case. --STARpic by IBRAHIM MOHTAR
Meanwhile, Singapore is suspending poultry and egg imports from Selangor with immediate effect, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority said in a statement yesterday. 

The current suspension will not affect poultry imports from Johor, Malacca, Perak and Negri Sembilan, which are free from the deadly avian flu virus. 

The Singaporean authority said that although five chicken broiler farms in Selangor were permitted to supply poultry to Singapore, there had been no exports from these farms since August 2004.  

This is the second time there had been H5N1 cases reported in the country in the past three years. The last case was in Kota Baru in 2004, when several fighting roosters smuggled in from Thailand died of the disease. 

Related Stories:
40 kampung chicken die of bird flu in Gombak
Veterinary Services Department makes house calls to collect chickens


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