Four Malaysian family members cleared of bird flu after quarantine

Four family members who were quarantined after they developed fevers in Malaysia's eastern Kelantan state have been cleared of the deadly H5N1 strain ofbird flu, an official said Thursday.

The four had been isolated after one of them, living in a rural area near chickens, had shown signs of the flu, said Health Ministry diseases control division director Dr. Ramlee Rahmat.

"This is part of our quarantine procedure," Ramlee said. "Because of their fevers and proximity to chickens, they were quarantined immediately."

All tests returned produced negative results Thursday, Ramlee said, but he did not say if the family members had been released from the Kota Baru Hospital, where they were isolated earlier this week.

Ramlee did not divulge their names and ages, and said he had no information on whether the poultry in the area tested positive for bird flu.

Malaysia was officially declared free of bird flu in June, three months after the last outbreak of the virulent H5N1 strain was detected in chickens in a northern village, reports AP.

There have been no known human deaths from the disease in Malaysia.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu virus has killed at least 148 people worldwide since it started ravaging poultry stocks in Asia three years ago, according to the World Health Organization.

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