There is as yet no indication that the H5N1 virus has made headway into Malacca, but the Veterinary Services Department isn't taking any chances. (File pix)

MALACCA: There is as yet no indication that the H5N1 virus has made headway into Malacca, but the Veterinary Services Department isn't taking any chances.

State Veterinary director Dr Azlan Engah said the agency has been conducting surveillance and testing on poultry here – in particular, those reared on an industrial scale for the export market.

"We've gathered samples for testing and will continue monitoring the situation closely, but thus far, there has been no detection of the virus in the poultry farms here," said Dr Azlan.

"We are paying close attention to the farms operating on a commercial scale here, as, should there be any outbreak, the virus would spread fast.

"This is definitely a serious matter. Although it’s been confined to poultry so far, it has potential to harm humans," he added.

Malacca operates a number of large-scale commercial poultry farms, including two operated by Thai companies for the export market.

Several poultry farms contacted declined comment, but a representative of a farm in Durian Tunggal stated that they adhere to stringent hygiene standards set by the Health Department.

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