Veterinary Services Dept: No reports of anthrax disease in Malaysia

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DVS states that clinical signs of anthrax disease in livestock include sudden death, high fever, weakness, lethargy, difficulty breathing, swelling, especially in the neck, vomiting and diarrhoea. — Malay Mail photo

PUTRAJAYA (April 2): The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) today confirmed that currently there are no reports of anthrax disease in Malaysia, despite its prevalence elsewhere globally.

In a statement today, the DVS announced that Malaysia has remained free from anthrax disease since the last reported case to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) in 1976.

Anthrax disease, caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is a zoonotic illness, meaning it can infect both animals and humans and can be fatal.

“The disease can infect livestock and humans through direct contact with spores from the Bacillus anthracis bacteria, resulting in a high mortality rate among livestock,” the statement read.

DVS states that clinical signs of anthrax disease in livestock include sudden death, high fever, weakness, lethargy, difficulty breathing, swelling, especially in the neck, vomiting and diarrhoea.

In some cases, livestock may exhibit symptoms such as bleeding from the nose, mouth, or anus. Farmers are urged to promptly report any such signs to the DVS.

Meanwhile, DVS emphasised the seriousness of the reported suspected anthrax outbreak in Champasack Province, Lao PDR, on March 26.

“During discussions in the Asean EOC Network VC: Anthrax Outbreak in Lao PDR on April 2, Lao PDR authorities confirmed no positive anthrax cases from laboratory tests on humans or animals,” read the statement.

As a precaution, DVS maintains continuous control and prevention efforts to keep the country anthrax-free.

Preventive measures include informing Thai veterinary authorities about Malaysia’s concern regarding the anthrax outbreak and requesting anthrax checks on all livestock imported from Thailand.

In addition, DVS continues clinical monitoring of ruminant livestock nationwide through the National Surveillance Programme to detect anthrax early.

Guidelines for anthrax examination are provided to Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (Maqis) officers at entry points and anthrax brochures are distributed to the public.

DVS advises farmers to enhance farm biosecurity, especially before the upcoming festive season.

“New livestock brought onto the farm must undergo health checks by certified veterinary officers and have valid livestock movement permits,” it added. — Bernama