No bird flu threat in Malaysia: Health Ministry

  • Nation
  • Monday, 05 Feb 2007

PUTRAJAYA: There is no cause for alarm over any threat of bird flu in Malaysia, despite reports of the virus spreading in other countries, the Health Ministry assured Monday. 

Health director general Tan Sri Ismail Merican said Malaysia had always been in a state of preparedness to face any threat posed by avian influenza. 

"Everything is in place. We have carried out simulation exercise in all states to see our strength and weaknesses. There is nothing better than to go to the ground. 

"So far government agencies are fully aware of what they are supposed to do should there be an outbreak,” he told a press conference here Monday, in light of reports that countries like Britain and Japan had found the H5N1 strain of bird flu in domestic poultry. 

Other pro-active measures taken by the ministry included identifying 21 hospitals with isolation facilities, stockpiling some five million anti-viral drugs and clinical surveillance of those with "influenza like illness (ILI)." 

"Surveillance on influenza virus being done at designated laboratories shows that there has been no H5N1 amongst humans in Malaysia. 

"Although avian flu was detected in poultry in Malaysia in 2004 and 2006, there have been not been any cases of avian flu among humans," Dr Ismail added. 

Dr Ismail said the Government did not restrict travellers from countries that had cases of bird flu from entering the country or stop Malaysians from travelling to the affected countries. 

"However, the ministry would like to advise them against visiting farms confirmed to have H5N1 or wet markets in countries that have reported H5N1," he added.

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