Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another student has A (H1N1) flu

Malaysia is stepping up efforts to contain the spread of influenza A (H1N1) after a second person came down with the illness.

The second patient — a 21-year-old female student in the United States — was admitted after she sought treatment at the Penang Hospital on Friday. She is from Kerian in Perak.

She was on board the same flight as the first patient.

They were among four friends who travelled on Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 from Newark and arrived at the KL International Airport on Wednesday.

Precautionary measure: Nurse Zalila Zakaria taking the temperature of a boy at the side entrance of a private hospital in Penang in a bid to trace suspected influenza A (H1N1) cases among visitors to the hospital yesterday. Looking on is the boy’s mother.

The other two friends and family members of the female student have been placed under home quarantine.

None of them are showing any flu-like symptoms.

Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat told a press conference here yesterday that the two A (H1N1) patients were in stable condition.

He said the ministry had placed the staff of a private clinic where the first patient sought treatment under home quarantine.

The first patient is now being treated at the Sungai Buloh Hospital.

Dr Ramlee noted that the five family members of the first patient, who were under quarantine at home, were healthy.

Health officials will visit all those under home quarantine twice daily to offer assistance.

Asked if the ministry would take action against any of the passengers who did not contact the health officials, Dr Ramlee said it could take legal action under the Infectious Disease Control Act but hoped they would act responsibly.

He said there were 15 suspected A (H1N1) patients warded in hospitals around the country and 12 had tested negative while the others were waiting for the test results.

These patients have been warded at the Sungai Buloh Hospital (nine), Tengku Fauziah Hospital in Perlis (two), Malacca Hospital (two), Penang Hospital (one) and Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor (one).

Dr Ramlee also said 81 Malaysians and 38 foreigners of the passengers and crew members on board flight MH091 were still in Malaysia and their contact details had been sent to the state Health Departments so that they can be contacted.

As for the remaining passengers, their details would be handed over to the World Health Organisation to be forwarded to the countries they had travelled to.

“I want to thank 35 passengers on the flight who called us after the first case was highlighted in the media,” he said.

He said the ministry also identified three passengers from the same flight, including a Malaysian, who were to leave Malaysia on Friday and placed them under quarantine at the Sungai Buloh Hospital since they had checked out of their hotel rooms and had nowhere else to stay.

They will be allowed to continue their journey on May 20.

In George Town, State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the police would contact the people who had come in contact with the second patient.

Security at the Penang Hospital was tightened with guards placed at the entrance to the isolation ward which is on the third floor of the building.

In Ipoh, state executive councillor in charge of health Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said 22 people were placed under quarantine in Perak.

They included the family members of five people who had travelled on flight MH091.

They are the family members of the second patient, a 20-year-old man from Parit, a 62-year-old American lecturer, a 23-year-old man from Tambun and a 56-year-old woman from Jerlun in Kuala Kangsar. The Jerlun woman has been quarantined in Petaling Jaya.

The Perak Government has also opened a Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre at the health department and its 24-hour hotline is 05-243 3962.

Source : STAR
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