By P Prem Kumar
A northeast Malaysian state has declared an emergency following an outbreak of H5N1, a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus.
The move by Kelantan state’s government came after 28 locations in six districts tested positive for H5N1, commonly known as bird flu.
In a statement Monday, the government said a total of 33,153 poultry and 13,342 eggs have been disposed to date.
"Overall, until March 19, a total of 28 locations tested positive for H5N1 virus in six areas, which involves 43 premises," it stated.
Meanwhile, Kelantan’s Veterinary Services Department said that China has imposed an immediate temporary restriction on imports of raw clean swiftlet edible bird's nest from Malaysia, due to the outbreak.
Although the chicken and duck population of Kelantan only accounts for 0.5 of the total population in Malaysia, China is said to have banned the import due to health safety reasons.
The department has responded by letter to the Chinese authorities explaining the situation of the disease in the country, which includes details on the implementation of three zoning processes to curb its spread in Kelantan.
"We have explained that production of commercial eggs is fully run outside Kelantan and sources of raw clean edible bird’s nest, which are meant for export, are also from outside Kelantan,” it said.
"The supply sources can be traced through a system adopted by the department."
In 2016, Malaysia exported 20.15 metric tons (44,423 pounds) of bird’s nest to China, worth 134.13 million Ringgit ($30.3 million).