KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — The Kelantan government has activated a state-level animal disease control action committee to control the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus following an outbreak in a village.
Its agriculture committee chairman Datuk Che Abdullah Mat told a news conference in Kota Baru yesterday that the police were asked to set up roadblocks within a 1km radius of Kampung Pulau Tebu where 15 kampung chickens were found dead recently, The Star reported on its website today.
“Just in case animal lovers try to smuggle the avians out of the vicinity to avoid culling, we have requested police to set up roadblocks.
“This is a serious matter. We can’t take risks that would take a toll on public health and the poultry industry,” he was quoted saying.
Eight people including six laboratory workers exposed to the virus are under a 24-hour quarantine at the Tumpat Hospital for precaution, The Star reported.
Che Abdullah said the infection so far was limited to one village but the state is enlisting the aid of the indigenous Orang Asli “to use blowpipes to kill wild avians in the affected area”.
He also said the authorities are still working to trace the source of the infection but gave an assurance that Kelantan poultry is safe for consumption after the Veterinary Services Department culled 170 birds and 100 eggs in the affected village on March 6.
Kelantan last faced a bird flu outbreak in 2004, The Star reported.
The H5N1 strain has been detected in Cambodia in recent weeks, according to international newswire Reuters.