by Karen Arukesamy
KUALA LUMPUR (May 15, 2009): A 21-year-old student who arrived here from the United States on the morning of May 13 has been confirmed as Malaysia's first case of A(H1N1) infection, the Health Ministry said today.
Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said in statement the youth was warded at the Sungai Buloh hospital on May 14 after suffering fever, sore throat and body aches, and was given anti-viral treatment after tests confirmed the infection. He is now in stable condition.
He said the ministry has studied the history of the youth’s contact, including family members and passengers and cabin crew of flight MH091 that he arrived in at 7.15am that day and is contacting them for follow-up checks.
An alert has now been sent out to all passengers who boarded flight MH 091 from Newark, USA and arrived at KL International Airport on May 13 at 7.15am. They are advised to contact 03-88810200 / 03-88810300 and submit themselves for tests. This is important to contain the spread of the virus should they be infected.
Ismail said the public has no reason to panic as his department is collaborating with all relevant agencies to ensure monitoring works are intensified and other proactive measures are taken to protect public health.
"Apart from this case, till Thursday, the Crisis Preparedness & Response Centre (CPRC) has received 11 cases -- six at Sungai Buloh isolation ward, two at Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, Seremban, one in each Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainon, Ipoh, Hospital Pulau Pinang and Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II, Kota Baru.
"All of these showed signs of infection and had a history of visiting infected countries. Their clinical samples however tested negative," he said.
Todate, there are 20 thermal scanners installed at entry points of the country and some 9,324 individuals arriving from the infected countries have been checked.
In the student's case, it is not clear why his case was not identified at the entry point.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told Bernama from London that health personnel are tracking down all passengers on the flight and those who had come into contact with the student since his return.
"This is urgent and all have to work together to prevent the spread of the disease in this country. We have initiated various preventive measures and the health department is working hard on the ground," he said.
Liow also advised the public to be on high alert and immediately seek treatment if they feel unwell.
As of 8am today, at least 34 countries reported more than 7,457 cases of the A(H1N1) infection worldwide, with 70 deaths.
The World Health Organisation has set the pandemic alert level is at phase 5 - out of a possible 6 - which means a global outbreak is 'imminent'.
He said the ministry also urged all clinics and private hospitals to be on constant alert and immediately notify the new cases of patients who just returmed from countries infected by the virus and those with similar symptoms.
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