KUALA LUMPUR: As avian influenza (AI) poses a real concern if the virus spreads from an infected bird to human, the Health Ministry is carrying out a national Avian Influenza field simulation training from Aug 5 to 7.
Its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this was to prepare the country in the eventuality of the virus spreading to Malaysia.
"The rate of death of those infected from the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in countries endemic to the disease is as high as 60%, " he said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 6).
Currently, no AI cases have been reported in Malaysia, but to ensure that the country is ready in the event it occurs, a national simulation training is carried out every year.
This is in collaboration between the ministry and the Veterinary Services Department, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia, as well as the Malaysia One Health University Network.
Since 2011, simulation training had been carried out in six states and the current one was being held in Pekan and Jerantut districts in Pahang, said Dr Noor Hisham.
"This is to ensure that the ministry is ready to manage cases in clinics, hospitals and in the field.
"The move is to identify the strength and weaknesses at every level and enhance the preparedness of staff in handling AI cases in future, " he said, adding that the training would test the coordination between various agencies.
Malaysia was free from the highly pathogenic virus affecting birds from 2007 to 2017, until a H5N1 outbreak occurred in chickens in Kelantan. In August last year, another H5N1 outbreak hit chickens in Sabah, he said.
However, no human infection cases were reported from either of the incident, he added.