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KOTA BHARU, 15 March 2017:
The Veterinary Services Department believes the bird flu (H5N1) epidemic detected in the state could have started from cockfighting activities involving roosters from neighbouring countries.
The department’s director-general Datuk Dr Kamaruddin Md Isa urged the public to stop holding such contests, including at border areas, to prevent the H5N1 virus from spreading elsewhere.
“We see a similarity between these cases and those in 2004 which also occurred in Kelantan where roosters infected with H5N1 were involved in cockfighting at the border areas.”
Kamaruddin said further investigations were being conducted to identify the real source of the epidemic, including looking at similarities with fowl diseases in Asean countries.
“So far, no new location has been found to have been infected and the epidemic has not spread to other states.”
To date, he said 15,957 fowls – like the free-range chicken, ducks, serama chicken, geese, quails and the ketitir bird – have been culled in Kota Bharu and Pasir Mas, which are within a 10km radius since the epidemic was identified in Kampung Pulau Tebu, Tunjong here, to prevent the H5N1 virus from spreading.
The H5N1 virus, which affects fowls, was detected on March 6 after a few free-ranging chickens owned by residents died.
In KUANTAN, no H5N1 virus has been detected – but chairman of the State Health, Human Resources and Special Functions Committee Datuk Norol Azali Sulaiman said the government would take necessary steps to be alert and monitor the spread of the virus.
“We have not received any reports on the H5N1 disease infecting animals or people.”