PUTRAJAYA - The decision whether to quarantine pig farms in Kampung Selamat, Penang, will depend on the blood test results of the animals taken from the farms on Tuesday. The results are expected to be known today.
Department of Veterinary Services director-general Datuk Dr Mohamad Azmie Zakaria said that should the outcome of the analysis on JE (Japanese encephalitis) return positive, the farms would be quarantined for an unspecified period.
"No animals will be allowed to leave the farms until the areas are totally free of the virus," he told newsmen here yesterday.
He said 181 samples were taken from 20 pig farms located within a kilometre radius of SK Kampung Selamat, where one of its students was recently found to have contracted the viral disease.
"The samples were sent to the Veterinary Research Institute in Ipoh to determine whether the latest JE cases were caused by those animals in the village," Dr Mohamad Azmie added.
The test came about after 12-year-old Muhammad Ammar Muqrish Zulkifli, a Year Six pupil of the school, was believed to have contracted JE while attending a camp programme organised by the school at its premises in April.
Doctors treating the boy said he was out of danger but there was damage to his brain.
Dr Mohamad Azmie said his department was also closely monitoring 179 other pig farms in Penang and appealed to the operators to report any suspicion of JE among their livestock.
In Butterworth, initial investigations by the state Health Department showed that both the confirmed JE cases there were not related.
Department director Datuk Dr Lailanor Ibrahim said checks and investigations were still ongoing.
The latest case involving the JE virus is Nur Ain Nasuha Mohd Shukri, a 29-month-old female toddler from Lunas, Kedah.