Cases of H5N1 avian flu have only been reported in chickens in Kelantan, with no reported infections in humans so far according to the Malaysian Health Ministry.

“Until now there are no reports of humans having been infected by the virus. It is still limited to livestock in the area and there are also no reports of it spreading to other areas,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who reassured that the current situation was under control.

H5N1 only detected in avian species so far

According to Subramaniam, the cases of H5N1 infection were detected in Kampung Pulau Tebu, Tunjong, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, after several dead kampong chickens were tested positive for the avian flu on 6 March 2017.

The source of the infection is currently being investigated. In the meantime, all avian species within a 2km radius of the known area of infection, including ducks, geese, guinea fowls and commercial chickens, were being culled by the Kelantan Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) to contain the disease from spreading. Other measures, including road blocks by police officials, have also been taken to curb the spread of the virus.

“We will be watching to see if residents in the area display flu-like symptoms,” Subramaniam also said, as he encouraged individuals handling poultry in neighbouring areas to be vigilant and take preventive measures to ensure that the virus does not spread.

He also advised farmers and traders to limit their transport or trade of fowls from across the border, as the avian flu was endemic in Thailand.

No impact on Singapore’s poultry supply

While the H5N1 virus has been detected in avian species, the current outbreak will not affect the supply of poultry and poultry products to Singapore, reassured the Singapore’s Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), adding that t imports from Malaysia are safe for consumption.

“About 76 per cent of our egg supply comes from Malaysia while our local farms account for the remaining 24%,” said the Authority, revealing that 35% of chickens and 93% of ducks were imported from Malaysia.

“We do not import poultry and eggs from Kelantan as it is not an approved source,” the AVA stated, adding that it only allows import from five disease-free zones in Malaysia, which are Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Perak and Selangor.

According to the AVA, existing measures will be heightened to conduct checks on poultry imports through the Tuas Checkpoint.

"At the point of import, AVA inspectors will verify that the consignment is from an approved farm. Consignments are also inspected to ensure animal health is safeguarded," the AVA explained. MIMS

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