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Malaysia's new plan on sampling

Malaysia plans to launch a new programme to collect samples from free-range chickens, especially in villages known to be frequently visited by migratory birds in Sabah this year.

Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry (Dovsai) director, Datuk Haji Awang Sahak Salleh, said this would be an expansion to the intensified active and passive surveillance activities for the H5N1 avian influenza in the State.

"Free-range chickens are let to roam freely in the village so we have planned this new programme to prevent any chance of the H5N1 virus spreading into Sabah through any infected migratory bird which may get in contact with any of the free-range chicken," he said.

This year the department will be collecting more samples to assist in keeping Sabah free from H5N1 avian influenza.

The department has also set up a flock sentinel at the Kota Kinabalu bird sanctuary here to enable it to collect samples from migratory birds, besides conducting a state-wide roadshow programme to instil awareness among rural folk and tightening border detection for smuggled bird species.

Awang Sahak said the department has also increased its active and passive surveillance activities in Tawau, which borders Kalimantan (Nunukan and Tarakan), in the wake of the recurrence of the H5N1 avian influenza in Indonesia. This is following the recurrence of H5N1 avian influenza in the republic.

"This includes monitoring and preventing smuggling of any livestock from Indonesia into Sabah É there were many smuggled bird species including chicken, ducks and so on, from the other side of the border, which we confiscated and destroyed after obtaining court orders," Sahak said, assuring that Sabah is still free from the H5N1 virus.


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