Authorities believe cockfighting is the culprit in the recent bird flu epidemic in Malaysia.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu was detected last March 6 in Kampung Pulau Tebu, Tunjong where free-range chickens owned by residents died.
“We see a similarity between these cases and those in 2004 which also occurred in Kelantan where roosters infected with H5N1 were involved in cockfighting at the border areas,” said Director-General Datuk Dr. Kamaruddin Md Isa of the Veterinary Services Department.
The government urged the public to stop holding cockfights involving roosters from neighboring countries to prevent the virus from spreading.
Further investigations are being conducted to identify the real source of the epidemic, including looking at similarities with fowl diseases in Asean countries.
So far, 15,957 fowls such as free-range chickens, ducks, serama chickens, geese, quails and ketitir birds were culled to contain the virus. The culled fowls were from Kota Baru and Pasir Mas, which are within the 10-kilometer radius of the affected area.