KUALA LUMPUR, 27 April 2009: In light of the swine-flu outbreak in Mexico, the Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Association of Malaysia (FLFAM) has strongly urged the government to stop pork imports until the situation is resolved.
FLFAM market development manager and veterinarian Dr Kaw Eng Sun today advised the government to temporarily stop importing any pig breeding stocks from the United States, Canada and Mexico along with any pork products from around the world including Vietnam and China.
“Under the circumstances, we should reduce or better still stop the import of pork products for the time being as the outbreak affects not just pork eaters but everyone else.
“We don’t import pork products from Latin America but we do import some from Vietnam and China. We might be importing breeding stocks from the Americas. We should stop this immediately.
“We also have more than enough locally-produced pork to satisfy the local market. Our pork have always been closely monitored by the Veterinary Department to ensure they are safe for consumption,” Kaw told Bernama.
According to him, the swine-flu spreads faster than avian flu, having killed 81 people within a week whereas avian flu killed hundreds within months.
“Avian flu spreads quickly in rural areas where humans are infected by the birds themselves. However, swine flu spreads among humans as a result of virus mutation and it seems to hit urban areas,” said Kaw who was quite puzzled by the epidemic’s speed.
As the flu’s vector is still human, Kaw advised the government to also monitor closely people entering the country.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) senior operations general manager Datuk Azmi Murad when contacted said MAHB was doing all it could to assist the government in preventing this virus from entering Malaysia.
“We have prepared a special docking bay for planes from high-risk departure points such as New York, Los Angeles and Mexico. The docking bay will be placed near the health examination points.
“We have also prepared a special waiting lounge for the planes’ passengers as well. And we have begun examining passengers from the high-risk areas this morning at 7.15,” Azmi said. — Bernama