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Disease Outbreak News

Friday, July 17, 2009

Malaysia : 10 New Influenza A H1N1 Cases Reported

10 New Influenza A H1N1 Cases Reported Today: Liow

SEPANG, July 16 (Bernama) -- Ten new cases of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus infection were detected this morning involving students of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Melaka and one patient at the Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor.

Health Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, when announcing the development admitted that he was upset by the situation given that the local spread of the epidemic continued.

He said all senior officers of the ministry, including the director-general, had been directed to carry out closer monitoring including closing down of university faculties involved if the situation warranted it.

"I am really upset at the situation when the report came in this morning. Although it was only ten cases but they were all local cases.

"The infected are all stable but we are worried as when the virus spreads victims who have complications due to other illnesses can face worse consequences when they are infected with H1N1," Liow said at a news conference after a ceremony to present 20 haemodialysis machines here Thursday.

He said this when asked to give the latest developments on the Influenza A(H1N1) virus in the country.

Liow said of the 10 cases only two were admitted into hospital, one each in the Melaka and Sungai Buloh Hospitals.

The patient at the Sungai Buloh Hospital had pneumonia complications.

"Eight patients were given outpatient treatment and are quarantined in their homes," he said.

He said the virus needed comprehensive control as it spread fast and was easily infectious.

"When H1N1 spreads, sometimes there are deaths, not because of the virus but to the fact the patients already have other illnesses. So I say that all levels of society have to take precautionary steps towards the containment and control of the epidemic.

"Social distancing measures must be taken to prevent the virus spreading to others. If you are coughing, have a flu or fever, do not spread it to others. The sickness spreads when there is flu, cough or fever," he said.

When asked about the call that the UiTM Melaka faculties be closed due to the latest development, Liow said the step would only be taken if the situation persisted.

"We can't just close the faculties. If all control steps fail then we will close. As of now all steps have been successful. We can still identify patients and contacts.

"We need to see where the spread began, whther from lecture halls, hostels or faculties," he said.

Meanwhile, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the number of Influenza A(H1N1) cases confirmed in the country was 835 cases that is 562 imported cases and 273 local cases.

He said of the total, 705 or 84 per cent, had recovered, 105 (13 percent) were being given outpatient treatment at home, and 25 (three per cent) were being treated in hospitals.

Globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that up till 8am today the number of Influenza A(H1N1) cases reported to the organisation was 116,954, with 557 deaths, from 146 countries, a rise of 2,262 cases from two new countries that is the Marshall Islands and Tonga.

Countries with the highest number of cases were the Philippines with 959 cases, Australia (561 cases), Japan (488), Hong Kong (78) and South Korea(55).

Later in PETALING JAYA, the minister said that patients who recover from the influenza A(H1N1) will not be reinfected by the same virus.

"They will not be infected again by the same A(H1N1) virus, but they may be infected by other types of flu," he told reporters.

So far patients that have recovered have not been reinfected, he added.

Liow also clarified that only tourists who showed symptoms of H1N1 during screening at the airport or customs checkpoints need to be detained until their screening reports were ready to ascertain whether they could be released.

He hoped that foreign tourists will understand and bear with the measures taken by the Malaysian health authorities.


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