Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flu jabs for Malaysian Frontliners

Some 200,000 frontliners in the country, including doctors, nurses, and police and immigration personnel will be given the seasonal flu injection as a precautionary measure against swine flu, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.

He said the exercise would cost the Government some RM7mil and be carried out over the next two weeks.

“We want to protect the frontliners. At the same time, the Veterinary Services Department has informed us that pigs will be given a double dose of the vaccine as a precautionary measure against the flu,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He said the department was closely monitoring the 778 pig farms nationwide and had formed a team to provide immediate response if there were any signs of an outbreak.

Liow had earlier briefed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Cabinet on the latest situation involving swine flu, as well as measures taken by his ministry and other agencies to ensure the disease would not spread.

“I must reiterate that as of now, 2.30pm (on Wednesday), no cases of influenza-like illness with symptoms of swine flu infection have been found in Malaysia.

“I urge the public to remain calm but at the same time to be on high alert, and especially to seek medical attention when they have flu, fever and cough.

“My ministry will take proactive measures to protect the public’s health,” he said, adding that 28 hospitals had been identified as quarantine centres should there be a widespread outbreak of swine flu.

Liow also said the ministry had directed nine designated centres to be on standby to distribute the Tamiflu and Relenza anti-viral medication if the need arose, adding that the medicine was sufficient to be given to two million people at one time.

Liow said it was not necessary for the people to get themselves vaccinated as the country was not facing a flu outbreak, adding it was also safe to consume pork as the meat was sourced locally.

On another matter, Liow said one person had been put under observation for having flu so far, adding that samples taken from the person were sent to the Institute for Medical Research (IMR).

Meanwhile, a man who recently returned from overseas tested negative for the swine flu virus A/H1N1, said health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican.

He said the man was suffering from upper respiratory tract infection.

“It was not a suspected case,” he added, when contacted last night.

“He came voluntarily to Hospital Sungai Buloh where he was admitted. A throat swab was taken and sent to the IMR,” Dr Ismail said.

Source : STAR
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