Malaysia reports new cases of bird flu, worker in hospital
submited by kickingbird at Sep, 11, 2004 21:52 PM from AFP
Officials said eight birds had died from the H5 strain of avian flu in three villages near the border with Thailand, which is also battling the disease, and just miles (kilometres) from Malaysia´s previous outbreaks.
"Culling of poultry in the infected area will begin later today," said Hawari Hussein, director-general of the Veterinary Department.
More tests were needed to determine whether the virus was of the H5N1 strain, which has killed 28 people in Asia this year including nine in Thailand, he said in a statement.
Ramlee Rahmat, director of disease control at the health ministry, told AFP that the veterinary worker had been isolated.
"He has been admitted into an isolation ward. He is down with fever and cough. We will do the required blood tests," he said.
Hawari said the new cases were discovered in Kebakat, Paloh Hilir and Cabang Tiga villages within a 10 kilometre radius (6.2 miles) of quarantine area set up last week.
After the most recent outbreak on September 6, some 1,200 birds, chickens and ducks within a one kilometre radius of Belian village were killed immediately to curb the spread of the disease.
Belian is near Pasir Pekan where the H5N1 strain was discovered for the first time in Malaysia last month, leading to the culling of hundreds of thousands of birds and a nationwide inspection of poultry farms, businesses and bird parks.
The Federation of Lifestock Farmers Associations said the poultry industry was losing 10 million ringgit (2.63 million dollars) daily after Singapore and other countries slapped import bans on Malaysia.
The World Health Organisation, which fears the virus could mutate into a highly contagious form that triggers the next global human flu pandemic, meanwhile criticised neighbouring Thailand for lax monitoring of poultry after a Thai national this week became the 28th Asian fatality of the year.
"The death from the H5N1 strain of bird flu shows the quarantine measure to prevent the epidemic among animals is not good enough, and that should be improved," WHO Thailand representative Kumara Rai was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post.
In late July, Thailand confirmed resurgent outbreaks in chickens and other birds had hit 27 of the kingdom´s 76 provinces but said it had swiftly and successfully tackled the new cases.
Komsan Fukhom, 18, who reared fighting cocks in eastern Prachin Buri province, died on Wednesday.
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