Bird flu exercise held in Malaysia

An exercise to prepare for an H5N1 bird flu outbreak has been conducted in Kelantan, Malaysia, by multiple members of the area's veterinary and health departments.

The exercise in the city of Kampung Jintan included 80 officers from the two departments and was put into place in case the deadly disease spreads to the area, New Straits Times reports.

"We have to conduct the exercise from now on so that we can identify our weakness," Datuk Mohd Zairi Serian, the veterinary director of Kelantan, said, according to New Straits Times. "From here, we can also improve our skill in handling the problem in the event that the flu outbreak hits our country. Besides, we also want to ensure our officers are prepared."

Serian said it was important to be prepared after H5N1 hit countries such as Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Johor and Penang have previously held similar exercises in Malaysia. The health department plans to hold a bird flu simulation annually.

The three hour exercise involved officers testing chickens and analyzing the results to ensure that the birds were free of H5N1 virus, according to New Straits Times.

In 2004, the virus was detected in Kampung Baru Pasir Pekan, Tamput, Malaysia, which led to the culling of approximately 200 chickens and a village quarantine.