H5N1 outbreak: Govt defends Kelantan move in declaring 'state emergency'

ADRIAN LAI


KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has defended the Kelantan government's move to declare a state emergency following the H5N1 avian flu outbreak there.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the declaration would allow the state government to mobilise more resources to assist in controlling the outbreak.

“That's a declaration by the state government. This whole operation now is being done by the Veterinary Services Department (VSD).

“Their concern is that it would spread to other areas including areas in Kota Baru,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today, adding that more than 20,000 chickens had been culled so far.

He said the VSD would follow standard protocols by identifying at-risk areas and look at all possible infections within a 300-metre radius.

"So far, we've been lucky that there have been no chicken-to-human transmissions. So, we have to contain the infection within the chicken population.

"We also advise people who come in contact with chickens to be aware of hygiene concerns, so the risk of them getting it is reduced to the minimum."

Dr Subramaniam said his ministry would be on standby to treat anyone who displays flu-like symptoms.

"We will do the tests necessary but so far, all tests have come out negative," he said, adding that there was no need to prevent people from going to Kelantan.