Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 31, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:22 am

Malaysia prevents bird flu outbreak effectively: minister

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 30 (Xinhuanet) — The measures taken by the government so far had been effective in preventing outbreak of the bird flu in Malaysia, Health Minister Chua Jui Meng said on Friday.

“Although many countries, including our neighbors, have been affected by the outbreak, we are still safe,” he told a press conference at his office here.

Chua said Malaysia was prepared to face the outbreak and had taken initial preventive step by banning poultry imports from Thailand, apart from drawing up specific action plans if the disease spread to Malaysia.

He said his ministry had not received any reports of the bird flu or avian flu virus attacking the poultry bred in the country.

So far, 10 people — eight in Vietnam and two in Thailand — died of the epidemic, while countries like South Korea, China, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Pakistan, Chinese Taiwan and Indonesia haveconfirmed the spread of the virus to the World Health Organization(WHO) in Geneva.

Chua said if the outbreak reached Malaysian shores, the first step that must be taken was to destroy the chicken and ducks in the farms to ensure the virus did not infect human beings.

“This step has been taken in Hong Kong, the United States and in the Netherlands not long ago, it proved successful to contain the disease,” he said.

Chua also urged livestock breeders to monitor and submit reports to the ministry as soon as possible if they spotted signs of infection in their animals besides carrying out immunization.

The ministry had also ordered hospitals and medical laboratories to be ready to face the possibility of having to dealwith the virus like conducting early diagnosis of the disease, quarantine or monitor the affected areas, he said.

He said the Veterinary Services Department had also been asked to monitor bird sanctuaries and other locations to detect if the bird flu virus was carried by migratory birds.

Earlier, Chua attended a meeting in Bangkok, which discussed the bird flu outbreak along with agriculture and health ministers from the region, besides officers from the European Union, the United States, World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Enditem

January 30, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:16 am

Don’t import chickens with bird flu, farmers told

POULTRY farmers have been told not to import chicken affected by bird flu, Sin Chew Daily reported National Public Health Laboratory consultant virologist Dr Chua Kaw Bing as saying.

He said poultry farmers should learn from the Nipah virus outbreak which was caused by a small group of pig farmers who purchased affected pigs due to low prices.

Dr Chua urged poultry farmers to follow the directive from the Agriculture Ministry and the Health Ministry.

The daily also reported that the Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Association of Malaysia as urging poultry farmers to report to the Veterinary Services Department if a large number of chickens died in their farms.

The association’s broiler unit chairman Yap Kim Hwah said this would enable the officers from the department to collect samples for tests to prevent any possible spread of the bird flu.

Yap said locally bred chicken was safe to consume and he had not received any reports of local farms being affected by the bird flu.

He said the department had also instructed the poultry farmers to increase hygiene standards at farms.

Yap said his association would brief members on the directives from the department so that they would carry out the preventative measures.

Nanyang Siang Pau quoted Veterinary Services Department director-general Datuk Dr Hawari Hussein as saying his department would intensify random checks to ensure locally bred chicken would be safe for consumption.

He gave assurance that affected chickens and eggs would not be on sale in the market.

Meanwhile, Sin Chew reported that the United Chinese School Teachers Association, or Jiao Zong, has urged those accepted for study in the Chinese Language section of the Teacher Training Colleges to report to their colleges.

Jiao Zong hoped they would become primary and secondary school teachers after undergoing the training as they could help ease the lack of Chinese language teachers in schools as well as contribute to Chinese education.

Note: Dr Chua Kaw Bing is the discoverer of the Nipah virus

January 29, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:38 am

M’sia prepared to cull chickens if need arises

MALAYSIA said yesterday it remains free of the bird flu that has hit regional neighbours Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia – but is ready to take measures that could include the mass slaughter of chickens should the need arise.

Contingency plans, including practices ‘institutionalised after the Nipah outbreak, are already in place’, said Health Minister Chua Jui Meng.

In a one-year period over 1998 and 1999, the government oversaw the slaughter of more than a million head of swine, as well as some cats and dogs, in a bid to stem the outbreak of the Nipah strain of the Japanese Encephalitis virus, which claimed about 100 lives.

The Agriculture Ministry’s Veterinary Services Department ‘already has a plan and we are happy with the plan’ in the event that bird flu is detected in Malaysia, Mr Chua said yesterday.

Singapore’s Agri-food and Veterinary Authority said on Monday that it will curtail imports of live chickens from Malaysia, estimated at some 120,000 a day, should bird flu spread to Malaysia.

Malaysia’s poultry farming industry is almost self-sufficient, and the latest figures from the Agriculture Ministry show the country exported RM580 million (S$259 million) of live poultry, processed chicken and eggs in 2001.

According to data released in the Economic Report 2004 in September last year, the government expects output of eggs and poultry this year to increase 16.2 per cent and 13.8 per cent respectively.

Poultry farmers continued to remain upbeat yesterday, although investors on the Malaysian Securities Exchange (MSEB) sold down poultry-related counters for a second straight day.

‘We are not affected as there have been no cases of the virus in Malaysia,’ said Alex Ding, group managing director of DBE Gurney. DBE, which is among the top five live-broiler producers in Malaysia, intends to proceed with plans to expand operations to include producing frozen chickens and chicken parts for exports, he said.

DBE’s RM14 million initial public offer for a second board listing on MSEB closes this week.

January 28, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:05 pm

Malaysia: High alert against unusual flu cases

MALAYSIA is on high alert for any unusual deaths among its poultry stock and any spike in human flu cases despite barring chicken imports to prevent the avian influenza from entering the country.

Officials said they are prepared to start culling livestock if the bird flu infects animals.

Malaysia produces more than one million chickens a year and Singapore imports live chickens – some 120,000 a day – only from Malaysia.

Malaysian Customs and veterinary officials are keeping an especially close watch on the porous Malaysia-Thai border for any attempt to bring in poultry from Thailand.

‘There must be no smuggling of chicken. This happened during the Nipah virus outbreak,’ said Health Minister Chua Jui Meng yesterday. When the deadly Nipah virus struck Malaysia’s pig population in 1999, unscrupulous farmers breached quarantine rules by smuggling out infected pigs to uninfected farms.

This led to the disease spreading throughout the country. More than 100 farm workers died as a result.

‘I want to ask Malaysians not to be tempted by cheap prices and engage in smuggling,’ Datuk Chua said.

He said procedures for dealing with any possible outbreak of the avian influenza had been institutionalised and was based on lessons learnt during the Nipah and Sars outbreaks.

Health officials at all government clinics, especially in the rural areas, have been asked to report any unusual flu cases, particularly among farm workers.

Farm workers and government veterinary officials are also on the lookout for unusual deaths among the chicken population.

Datuk Chua said government laboratories have so far only detected the human flu virus among cases sent for tests.

‘It is very comforting. So far, there has been no big jump in flu cases,’ he added.

The minister will attend a meeting in Bangkok today on the bird flu crisis.

January 26, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:28 am

Malaysia to cooperate with Singapore and ASEAN to contain bird flu

SINGAPORE: Malaysia’s Health Minister said his country will work with Singapore and other ASEAN countries to prevent the bird flu from spreading.

Speaking to reporters in Singapore, Mr Chua Jui Meng says ASEAN Health Ministers will meet in Thailand next week to discuss the issue and prevent the smuggling of birds and animals across borders.

“We have banned the imports of meat as well as live chicken from Thailand. That’s done by their agriculture ministry and health officers, public health officers are working very closely with the vets to make sure there’s no infiltration of any animals or birds illegally.

“The Ministry of Health is helping to advise the farmers to protect themselves in the unlikely event of any infection but there is none so far in Malaysia and we intend to keep it that way,” said Mr Chua who was part of the Malaysian delegation on a visit to Singapore led by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.

The deadly strain of avian influenza has killed six people in Vietnam and had infected both humans and chickens in Thailand. – CNA

January 24, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:34 pm

Chicken products from Thailand banned


Malaysia has banned with immediate effect the import of live chicken, eggs and chicken meat from Thailand following an outbreak of bird flu in the kingdom.
Thailand has also voluntarily stopped all chicken exports following the confirmed cases of bird flu in the country today.

Thai medical authorities also announced the first death of a person suspected to have contracted the disease, a 56-year-old man who raised fighting cocks at his home.

Agriculture Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today that he had asked Veterinary Services Department director-general Datuk Dr Hawari Hussein to inform all importers of the ban.

He said the ministry had initially suspended the import of live chicken and eggs several days ago following reports of possible bird flu cases in Thailand.

“With confirmation now, we are banning imports totally,” he said. The ban remains effective until further notice.

A similar ban is imposed on Vietnam where another 17 people are believed to be infected with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza which has also been reported in Japan and South Korea.

Meanwhile, wire agencies confirmed yesterday that two Thais have caught the bird flu which has already killed five Vietnamese.

“The result from the Department of Medical Science said two were positive and one was negative,” Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan said, referring to tests on three patients.

The two, boys aged six and seven from different provinces west of Bangkok, were in “critical but stable” condition, she said.

Children appear most at risk. No one knows why, but four of the five killed in Vietnam were children.

Bird flu affects people who have come into contact with diseased chicken. The first symptoms are fever and bronchitis.

The World Health Organisation has expressed fears that bird flu could evolve into an epidemic worse than SARS. The European Union, Hong Kong and Bangladesh have also banned Thai poultry.

Leong Hup Holdings Bhd executive director Datuk Francis Lau, one of the country’s largest producers of chicken, said that Malaysia was self-sufficient in meeting the country’s chicken demand and imports very little chicken meat for processing.

“Malaysia is free from the avian influenza,” Lau added.

“We produce RM400 million worth of chicken meat per year, and less than five per cent, about RM20 million worth, is imported.

The Leong Hup Group operations cover poultry breeding, slaughtering, processing and retailing. Its products are marketed under the brand name of “Ayam A1”. Its breeder farm is one of the largest in the country producing about 100 million chicks a year, about 26 per cent of the local market.

In Brussels, Alberto Laddo-mada, a European Commission expert in animal health told a news conference, that there was only a tiny risk of people catching bird flu by eating infected poultry meat.

“It’s unlikely humans would get the infection from eating poultry meat,” Laddomada, said, adding that people were catching bird flu after being in contact with poultry.

There is no evidence of the virus jumping from human to human, a doomsday scenario where bird flu in poultry and the virus in humans would mix to unlease a killer bug similiar to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, he added.

January 17, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:45 pm

MALAYSIA BUSINESS BRIEFS: Pantai Buys Cheras Hospital
KUALA LUMPUR (Dow Jones)–Malaysian health care group Pantai Holdings Bhd. (8036.KU) is buying hospital operator Cheras Medical Center Sdn. Bhd. for 8.8 million ringgit ($1=MYR3.80) which will be paid through the issuance of 8.3 million new Pantai shares. Pantai is also buying a piece of land and a five-storey hospital building – where Cheras Medical Center operates – for MYR25.4 million, which it will pay for by issuing 24.0 million new shares.

January 16, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:04 pm

Health Minister: No avian flu cases in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s poultry industry is not affected by the recent outbreaks of avian flu in the Asia region and the world situation is being watched closely, said Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng.

“As far as we are concerned, there is no avian flu in the country. The Institute of Medical Research as well as the laboratory technicians with the Veterinary Services Department are monitoring the situation,” he said.

Chua said the ministry had issued an advisory to the department on guidelines for farmers should there be an outbreak in Malaysia.

“It is a precautionary measure which I am sure is taken by other countries.

“The advisory is based on scientific evaluation, which is part of modern agriculture,” he told reporters after the official opening of the Regulation and Safety of Dietary Supplements in Safeguarding Public Health seminar yesterday.

Asked for details of the advisory, Chua said it was drawn up based on lessons learnt from the JE, Nipah and the recent SARS outbreaks.

“It serves as a reminder to farmers. Usually protective clothing is used to protect the animals as human beings can infect animals.

“But in the event of an outbreak, the clothing can provide protection for farmers. It is part of good agricultural practice,” he said, adding that other measures included preventing importation from affected countries.

Chua said the issue was brought up at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday and the Health Ministry and Agriculture Ministry had been directed to take action as required based on current developments.

“The Public Health Division has also been watching the situation closely through the World Health Organisation’s website and is also contacting our counterparts in the affected countries,” he added.

When asked if there was any advice for Malaysians travelling to Vietnam, South Korea and Japan, he said it was not likely that Malaysians would visit chicken farms.

On the three suspected SARS cases reported in Singapore, he said Malaysia was working closely with Singapore to monitor the latest developments.

January 15, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:17 pm

Malaysia on high alert against bird flu

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia is on high alert against the bird flu virus following the recent outbreak of the disease in Vietnam and Japan.

It plans to impose a ban on avian products from all affected countries to try and keep its poultry industry disease-free.


Malaysia, one of the biggest poultry exporters in Southeast Asia, said its top priority now was to prevent the importation of the disease by banning all avian products from the affected countries.

Health Minister Chua Jui Meng assured the public that Malaysia is free from the disease, according to studies done by the ministry’s Institute of Medical Research.

But while the poultry industry is not affected by the current outbreak in Vietnam and other countries, he stressed the need for precautions.

Mr Chua said: “It is our mission and duty to ensure this does not take place in this country. We have sent advisory to departments to advise farmers on actions to be taken in the unlikely event there is avian flu in this country.”

Besides preventing the importation of the disease from affected areas, Malaysia chicken farmers are also advised to step up precautionary measures including putting on protective clothings at all time.”

Mr Chua said Malaysia’s veterinary and health officials were working closely with the World Health Organisation to monitor the situation.

He said no travel advisory would be issued against visiting affected countries as it has not been proven that the bird flu virus can spread from human to human.

With Singapore a major export market for Malaysian chickens and ducks, the Health Ministry assured its closest neighbour that Malaysia will stay as alert when it comes to developments on the bird flu, as for the SARS outbreak. – CNA

January 14, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:01 am

New drug for erectile dysfunction now available: “KUALA LUMPUR: A new oral treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), called tadalafil, is now available in Malaysia.
The drug is said to be effective up to 36 hours after consumption, longer than what is currently available.
�The longer hours of efficacy mean that men with ED do not have to worry so much about when the drug will wear off. Thus, they would be able to regain the spontaneity in sexual intercourse that they once enjoyed,� said Dr Gerald Brock, associate professor of the department of surgery in the urology division at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, who was speaking at the launch of the drug at Carcosa Seri Negara yesterday. “

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