H7N9 Malaysia bird flu alert: precautions to take
Malaysia is on high alert and is taking precautions to prevent a H7N9 outbreak. Read our 5 precautionary measures all Malaysians should observe here.
Malaysia has recently imposed a temporary halt on all chicken product imports from China following the outbreak of a new strain of avian flu that has resulted in 23 deaths.
Freeze on chicken imports from China
The freeze of chicken imports from China took effect on April 22 after one case of the new avian flu was detected in Shandong, which is where all Malaysia’s chicken imports are from.
However, there were 98 containers of frozen deboned chicken that was already on the way to Malaysia before the halt on chicken imports.
But Department of Vetrinary Services director-general Datuk Abd Aziz Jamaluddin assured that each shipment will be held and tested for H7N9.
Research into the genetic makeup of H7N9 suggests “that it is being transmitted sporadically from poultry to humans” according to the general medical journal The Lancet.
This will be the first time that a definite bird-to-human transmission has been shown for the H7N9 virus.
H7N9 not able to transmit between humans
The Lancet reported that people who came into contact with H7N9-infected patients have not displayed any symptoms within the 14 days of their surveillance.
This suggests that the virus is not yet able to transmit between human beings.
However, further adaptation of the virus could lead to infections with less severe symptoms but “more efficient person-to-person transmission”, the researchers cautioned.
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Be extra vigilant
The World Health Organisation has described the virus as “one of the most lethal”.
Therefore, people travelling to high-risk or H7N9 affected areas are advised to be extra vigilant.
H7N9 bird flu precautionary measures
Malaysians should take keep in mind the following precautionary measures against the H7N9 bird flu:
- Avoid direct contact with poultry, birds and their droppings
- Cook your poultry and eggs thoroughly before consumption
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent cross-contamination
- Avoid crowded places and contact with sick people
- Wear a mask when suffering from respiratory symptoms or if you’re feeling unwell
Schools and offices should enforce guidelines
It is highly recommended that the above guidelines are enforced in schools and offices across Malaysia.
We recommend that teachers, care-givers and employers familiarize themselves with the above precautionary measures to prevent the risk of H7N9 spreading in Malaysia.