Baby Among New Sufferers As Malaysia Swine Flu Cases Jump 4 Times
Malaysia swine flu sufferers has jumped fourfold within one week.
And today,it jumped further by another 11 new cases,including a toddler,aged 19 months.
Among the earlier confirmed cases is a six-month-old baby who returned from California via connecting flight in Hong Kong.
The other confirmed cases are three Yemenis,two of them students, and an Indonesian boy,aged 11, who has apparently spread the virus to the toddler, now warded at the Seremban Hospital.
The rest are Malaysians who returned home from trips to Singapore,Britain,Thailand,the Philippines,Australia and the United States.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai says today the teenage son of Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Peter Pang is among the latest confirmed influenza A(H1N1) sufferers.
The boy,aged 17,had earlier returned home from Melbourne last Saturday.He was confirmed to have the flu yesterday after being warded for flu-like symptoms in Sandakan Hospital on Tuesday.
Now,Peter Pang,his wife and two daughters are all on home quarantine.
An Irish girl,aged six, is also among the new confirmed cases.
She fell ill with cough and fever early Tuesday in Penang after arriving with her family on a Silk Air flight last Saturday.
She tested positive for influenza A(H1N1) yesterday.She is now warded in Penang Hospital.
Her three family members and eight others who have come into contact with her have been placed under home quarantine
Meanwhile,in view of the seriousness of the pandemic,the Malaysian Education Ministry today announces that it is pulling out of all ASEAN and international sports events and activities for this month and July.
"I have talked to Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and he has advised us not to take the risk and expose our students to more influenza cases,"says Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr.Wee Ka Siong today.
"We will also postpone whatever international event we are supposed to host to a later date."
Among the events that Malaysian students will not be attending are the ASEAN inter-school sports event on July 20 to 29 in Thailand and a student exchange programme in Singapore on June 28.
With immediate effect,all students and teachers returning home from overseas,particularly from countries hit by Influenza A(H1N1) outbreak,must go through medical screening and automatic home quarantine for a week.
"If they go against the quarantine order imposed by the Health Ministry,they may get fined or jailed," stresses Dr.Wee.
And Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr. Ismail Merican had earlier given the latest update of confirmed cases in Malaysia yesterday at 80.Today,the cases have increased further to 91.
However,more than 628 people,including 164 "new contacts" are still under home quarantine.
For anyone infected with influenza A(H1N1) virus and families and friends in close contact with the swine flu sufferers,the following 10 Self-Quarantine Tips published in today's Star in Malaysia may prove useful,viz:-
*Stay home for the entire duration imposed and avoid contact with family members who are not required to undergo the isolation process;
*Do not leave home for functions or activities including weddings,shopping trips,religious events or tuition classes;
*Get help from family members relatives or friends to obtain daily necessities or food;
*Avoid contact with people who offer help;
*Record the names,addresses and telephone numbers of people that you come into contact with;
*Wear a mask if you have cough,fever or sore throat;
*Practise cough etiquette and use good personal hygiene as well as ensure good ventilation at home;
*Monitor flu symptoms including fever and cough, and seek treatment if there are such signs;
*Contact the Health Ministry if you develop such symptoms
*Follow updates on the influenza A(H1N1) outbreak through the media.
On why Malaysia has recorded 400 percent jump in influenza A(H1N1) confirmed cases within one week,the Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr.Ismail Merican says:
"This is because some patients did not tell us the whole truth about the people they came into contact with."
Stressing,many people do not understand the meaning of self-quarantine,Tan Sri Ismail says some swine flu sufferers still attend religious classes after the school closure.
On the health precautionary measures at airports,he says suspected swine flu sufferers detected with fever will be given two-day doses of tamiflu and directed to go for home self-quarantine.
"We will take throat swabs from these people and they will only be required to go to the hospitals if they test positive for influenza A(H1N1).
"After that,we will allow them to stay at home to finish their medication.This is due to the increasing number of patients.We want to reduce the number of hospital admissions,"he adds.
Among the new cases is a female student,aged 19,who returned home from Melbourne via Singapore Changi airport,from where she took a taxi home last Saturday.
The student is the first confirmed swine flu in Malaysia's southern state of Johore.
She is being treated in hospital while her family members including her sister, a secondary school pupil at SMK Infant Jesus Convent,are placed under home quarantine.
The taxi driver,aged 36, and his family are also under home self-quarantine for a week.
According to Johor Women,Family,Community Development and Health committee chairman Dr.Robiah Kosai,the girl's grandmother died yesterday of "old age".
She says officers of the Health Department would assist the family at the burial ceremony to ensure they would not expose anyone to the flu.
Meanwhile,ten more Malaysian hospitals have been designated for conducting throat swab tests in addition to the 28 hospitals announced earlier.
And in Thailand,Malaysia's northern neighbour,the Thai Health Ministry has reported 86 new swine flu cases,bringing Thailand total confirmed swine flu cases to 985.
Since April,Thailand,a major South-East Asian tourist destination,has found the flu in schools and unversities,resulting in their temporary closure to disinfect the premises and to stop the outbreak.
In the Indonesian resort island of Bali,Indonesia's first two confirmed swine flu cases were announced by Indonesia Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari yesterday.
Expressing concern,Siti Fadilah,addressing reporters at a press conference, says:"Honestly, I'm very worried about people who come from Australia.
"We have to be more vigilant about Australian tourists so there won't be more cases of H1N1 from Australia.One is enough."
One of the two cases is a British woman,aged 22, who travelled to Indonesia from her home in Victoria,Australia.
The other is a pilot,aged 37,who had travelled to Australia and Hong Kong before being diagnosed with influenza A(H1N1) in Indonesia. Both patients are isolated and recovering.
Last year, more than 310,000 Australians visited Bali.
The rapid spread of influenza A(H1N1) in the southern hemisphere in recent weeks,especially via air travellers returning home from trips overseas or new business and tourist arrivals, is causing great concern.
National and state health authorities must work closely with airport authorities and airline operators to take immediate effective measures across borders to identify suspected swine flu sufferers early and take the necessary action to isolate and quarantine them for proper medical treatment.
The new flu victims are being flown all around the globe and infecting families,friends and others because of lack of political will and co-ordination by governments to do what is necessary - common sense prevention via swift separation,isolation and quarantine of the flu-stricken sufferers from healthy people.
In fact,designated hospitals should have appropriate and adequate quarantine medical equipment,facilities and medical personnel trained for the purpose.
Health authorities should not direct flu victims to stay at home and infect beloved families and friends.
The flu sufferers should be properly taken care of and treated effectively at designated hospitals nearest to airports from where they touched down from their flights.