Materia Medica Malaysiana

February 3, 2007

Country ready for bird flu

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:00 am

Star: PENANG: Malaysia is fully prepared in terms of personnel, drugs and equipment in the event of an avian flu outbreak, according to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
The ministry had stepped up preparations to handle the situation in view of the re-emergence of the H5N1 strain in Thailand and Indonesia, conducting simulation exercises to identify weaknesses and improve coordination among government agencies.
“The Agriculture Ministry has to inform us of poultry deaths in more numbers than usual,” he said, adding that all general practitioners and government clinics should also notify his ministry if there was a sudden rise in flu cases.
Dr Chua said last year, the ministry ordered enough of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu for 5% of the population, with a similar amount ordered for this year.
Vaccinations would also be given to those handling poultry, including health and veterinary officers, and police and fire and rescue services personnel, Dr Chua told reporters after visiting the Bayan Baru health clinic yesterday.
On Wednesday, Indonesian authorities said they might declare a national bird flu disaster alert following a fresh flare-up in the country, which has the world’s highest human death toll from the virus with 63 deaths.
On the new loyalty pledge document for pig farmers and butchers, Dr Chua said the requirement was reasonable, adding that there was already an existing condition that all exporters of seafood and meat products to Malaysia had to prove that their meat was free of Chloramphenicol, Nitrofuran and beta-agonist.
Earlier, in Tangkak, Dr Chua said the recent deaths of two girls in Tanah Merah, Kelantan, were not caused by the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus but due to dengue and bacteria meningitis.
He said test results released yesterday showed that their deaths had nothing to do with the virus, as announced by the Kelantan Health Department.
Dr Chua urged residents in the area not to panic.
“I am puzzled as to how the Kelantan Health Department director could issue a statement that the state could have a JE outbreak,” he added.

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