The Veterinary Services Department (DVS) has announced that livestock in the country is officially free from the Nipah disease, according to recent findings. This declaration is based on extensive surveillance conducted until August, which involved testing 399 commercial pig samples, all of which returned negative results.
Nipah disease is caused by the Nipah virus and can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals, airborne respiratory droplets, secretions from the nose and mouth, or tissues from infected animals. The disease was first identified in Malaysia back in 1998, originating in pig farms located in Perak before spreading to Negeri Sembilan. During its initial outbreak, it led to significant losses for pig farmers, economic impact, and tragically claimed the lives of 105 individuals.
In response to this outbreak, extensive eradication efforts were undertaken by various governmental departments and agencies. By early 2001, Malaysia had successfully eradicated Nipah disease and was officially declared Nipah-free by the World Organisation for Animal Health.
The DVS emphasized that Malaysia continues to maintain its Nipah-free status through regular surveillance programs. Nipah disease is classified as a Notifiable Disease under Section 31(1) of the Animals Act 1953.
Surveillance efforts will persist to safeguard the nation’s pig farming industry from potential disease threats, particularly zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. As a precautionary measure, pig farmers are advised against planting fruit trees in or around farm areas, as these could attract wildlife, particularly fruit bats (keluang), which have the potential to serve as natural hosts for the Nipah virus.