Tuesday, April 20, 1999 Published at 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Dog slaughter follows pig cull
The outbreak ravaged the $400m pork industry
Malaysian officials have begun slaughtering stray dogs in an attempt to stamp out a new pig-borne disease that has killed nearly 100 people this year.
The moves follow the recent slaughter of nearly a million pigs in the states of Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Selangor.
Until now pigs were thought to be the only animals to contract the Nipah virus, named after the village where it was first found.
Mr Nordin said the dogs may been infected by eating the carcasses of buried pigs.
Soldiers are now killing stray dogs around affected pig farms in the south west of the country and vets are screening pet dogs, he added.
Running after rats
All other animal species around the worst-hit areas will also be tested.
The authorities have so far taken blood samples from rats, birds, goats, cattle and wild animals including bats.
A national campaign to test all pig farms in other Malaysian states is scheduled to begin next week, he added.
Health officials first mistook the disease for Japanese encephalitis.
But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then detected the Nipah virus, a strain similar to the very rare Hendra virus discovered in Australia in 1994.
Symptoms are the same for both - high fever, aches, eventual coma and death.
The Malaysian Government has promissed a $10m compensation scheme for pig farmers affected by the outbreak which has ravaged the country's $400 million pork industry.