Malaysia free of bird flu virus

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has been declared free from the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1, or better known as the bird flu virus, as of July 1.

Veterinary Services Department director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam said the announcement was made following no new occurrences of the disease after 90 days from the last disinfection procedure on April 1.

"The 90-day period is a condition laid down by the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) in addressing these animal diseases," he said in a statement here today.

Dr Quaza Nizamuddin said the department had sent a full report to OIE on the situation and measures taken to address the issue.

Following the announcement, he said, importing countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and China were expected to lift restrictions for import of items such as poultry, ducks, and bird's nest from Malaysia.

The disease was detected in 16 of 26 village-bred chickens on Feb 28 in Kampung Pulau Tebu, Mukim Tunjung, Kota Bharu.

On March 15, the Kelantan government declared the H5N1 epidemic as a state disaster after it spread from Kota Bharu and Pasir Mas to Bachok and Pasir Puteh. — Bernama