The virus which infected two chickens in a village in north state of Kelantan, Malaysia, is the pathogenic H5N1 strain, the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry confirmed Thursday.
The ministry's secretary-general Abi Musa Asa'ari Mohamed Nor told a press conference here that the outbreak in Baru Pasir Pekan Village was an isolated case.
"Only two of the 103 chicken and ducks bred by the villagers have been infected with the bird flu virus, of the H5N1 strain."
"However, we have taken the decision to cull all the chickens today itself," he said. Abi Musa Asa'ari said that the outbreak was expected to be curbed within three weeks, informed Xinhuanet.
Malaysia has confirmed that a small outbreak of avian flu in the country was caused by a viral strain that is also deadly to humans. Malaysian government officials confirmed the H5N1 viral strain, which has killed more than two dozen people in Asia this year, was present in chickens found dead in a small privately owned flock in the north of the country.
Abi Musa Asa'ari Mohamed Nor, secretary-general of the Agriculture Ministry, told reporters that poultry in the area were being slaughtered to contain the spread of the disease.
Just weeks ago Malaysia said the country was free of the disease. Malaysia's poultry industry is already feeling the impact of the latest cases of bird flu, as chicken exports to Japan and to neighboring Singapore have been halted, reported The Voice of America
In Geneva, the World Health Organization called the sudden outbreak of the virus strain in Malaysia "disconcerting" and said there was still the risk it could jump to humans, with pandemic potential.
"As long as it circulates in animals, there's always the possibility, the risk, that it will jump to humans (and) when it jumps to humans there is always the risk of a pandemic development," said Dick Thompson, spokesman for the U.N. body.
Malaysia was now on nationwide alert for bird flu cases but the government had decided against banning poultry exports, Abi said, reversing an earlier statement by a veterinary official. It would be up to other countries to decide whether to buy Malaysian poultry and eggs.
The recent deaths of three people in Vietnam have been blamed on the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. The strain also killed 16 people there and eight in Thailand early this year, told Reuters.
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