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Malaysia Declared Free of Bird Flu

Malaysia is officially free of bird flu as of Wednesday, 5th January 2005, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin declared. He said the last case of the potentially deadly H5N1 avian influenza in an animal was reported on Nov 22 last year and, to date, no new cases had surfaced. \”Thus, as of today, Malaysia is free of the bird flu. However, the threat is still high as neighbouring countries are still grappling with the disease,\” he said. As such, he said, the ban on the import of chicken, ducks and eggs from Thailand and other affected countries, as well as monitoring and enforcement activities, would continue. He said the movement of fowls within the previously affected state of Kelantan was now allowed but export from the state would be subject to permits from the Veterinary Services Department. \”However, the movement of fighting cocks from the state is still prohibited,\” he said. Muhyiddin said it was hoped that Malaysia\’s bird flu-free status would result in a resumption of exports of fowls and eggs to countries which had banned those items at the height of the scare. \”The control protocol will be an example for us to ensure that this (the bird flu) does not recur in this country,\” he said. – Bernama