Swine Flu Rampage
WisdomMountain | June 23, 2009 at 01:09 amby
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Tonight at 8p.m. Malaysian time,TV 7 reported SRK Assunta 1 and Seri Cempaka International School at Batu 9,Cheras, a posh private school with swimming pool, are the latest two schools to be shut down because of the swine flu outbreak in Malaysia.
Yesterday(June 22,2009),Malaysian health authorities shut down SRK Assunta 2 in the affluent satellite city of Petaling Jaya and SJK(C) Jalan davidson in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Now all four schools will stay close for a week.
This follows the discovery of a swine flu sufferer among the 11-year-old pupils in SRK Assunta 2,Seri Cempaka and SJK(C) Jalan Davidson.SRK Assunta 1,an afternoon session school for the younger kids,uses and shares the same classrooms as SRK Assunta 2,a morning session school,at the same venue.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told a press conference that the Assunta girl had earlier gone for a holiday to Melbourne, "the swine flu capital of th world" and got the virus and spread it.
Now,health authorities are looking for the van driver and students,including those from other schools,ferried in the same van with the flu victim to place them under immediate quarantine.
The ashened-faced Minister advised school children who visited Australia,the United States and the Philippines to stay away from school for a week upon their return to prevent a recurrence of the spread of the flu infection in schools.
In SJK(C) Jalan Davidson,another girl,also aged 11,got the contagious flu virus on her return home last Friday after a holiday in Melbourne.
There,the flu virus spread to two more pupils.
The Seri Cempaka student had similarly spread the virus to classmates after returning home from Australia.
The other three schools having one class each stopped are SMK Seksyen 9 Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor,Malaysia's most advanced state;SMK Damansara Utama,another upmarket school in an affluent enclave and SM Wangsa Maju.
The number of swine flu sufferers has jumped with eight new ones reported yesterday to a total of 58 confirmed victims in Malaysia.Tonight, this number jumped further to 69 cases.
This is in sharp contrast to only seven sufferers on June 9.
Not only is the rapid spread of the flu infection causing deep concern in Malaysia but also other nations in Asia . Australia,New Zealand and elsewhere.
In the Philippines,Philippines Health Secretary Francis Duque reported yesterday the first swine flu fatality in Asia.
He told reporters in Manila that a Filipina,aged 49,died at her home on June 19 after the virus infection.
An autopsy shows the woman,with a medical history of heart and liver ailments,died of congestive heart failure,aggravated by severe pneumonia,either baterial or viral or both.
The Philippines now tops the South-East Asia's flu table for having the most sufferers with 445 reported victims - 80 percent of whom are said to have recovered after the first victim was reported on May 21.
There,the situation is more serious with 20 state and private schools having been suspended for 10 days.
This school closure began two weeks ago as students fell ill with the flu after visits to the United States,Canada,Japan,China and Hong Kong.
Singapore,Malaysia's closest neighbour,also confirmed 16 more cases,bringing the total flu sufferers to 142 in the city state.
Like Malaysia,which has begun to see local transmission,the health ministry of Singapore,one of the world's most densely populated city,stated Sunday that seven of the new victims got the swine flu locally - the most in a single day.
Meanwhile,in China's bustling Dongguan city in Guangdong province,the Shipai Central Primary School,was also closed over the weekend for a week after 30 students fell ill with the swine flu.
Across the border in Hong Kong,many schools and kindergartens had earlier been closed for the same reason.
Latest reports put China's swine flu cases at 414 sufferers,with 200 of them already recovered.
Yesterday in Australia,Victoria reported 1,406 swine flu sufferers,most of them in Melbourne,Austalia's second largest city, said to be suffering the world's highest per capita rate of swine flu, as compared to the 2,733 victims reported,including one death in Australia.
The rapid rate that the virus can spread is alarming.When I visited Perth,Western Australia,with my wife for a holiday last month,the Australians had a laid-back near zeroswine flu record.
In New Zealand,the number of swine flu sufferers soared to 303 victims,with 250 of them reported last week,damaging its important tourism industry.
To prevent the virus from spreading further,I suggest the following pro-active health measures for immediate implementation worldwide,viz:-
*Daily reviews and warnings in all public places by airport,port,ferry and other public transport authorities,commercial airlines and cruise ship operators to give immediate medical attention to suspected swine flu sufferers.Ambulances should be on standby to ferry them to the nearest hospital for medical treatment and quarantine;
*All passengers should go through proper health scanning before and after boarding any aircraft,cruise ship and other mass transit modes.They must also be given proper advice on top of the routine safety precaution demonstration with airlines,shipping companies and urban transport managements working closely with health authorities to disseminate clear brief flyers on the swine flu pandemic,symptoms and Dos and Don'ts
"All governments should work closely with media organizations,television stations and newspapers to run daily highly visible sidebars prominently on "What Are The Symptoms Of Swine Flu";What Can You Do To Prevent And Stop The Spread Of This Novel Virus" and "How You Can Respond In Case You Are Infected".
The above three steps preventive method is most urgently needed in view of the recent rapid spread of the virus from "imported cases" because of air travel from Australia,Britain,the Philippines,Thailand and elsewhere in Malaysia.
Now the "imported cases" have resulted in local transmission.
When the World Health Organization(WHO) declared a global pandemic alert to Level Six from Level Five on June 11,there were 30,000 confirmed cases reported in 74 countries.
Since then,the swine flu virus has spread further globally infecting at least 56,962 sufferers resulting in 271 deaths.
Pandemic means worldwide epidemic.
WHO director-general Dr.Margaret Chan,in announcing the Pandemic,said:"The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.
"We are in the earliest days of the pandemic.
"The virus is spreading under a close and careful watch.
"No previous pandemic has been detected so early or watched so closely,in real-time,right at the very beginning."
WHO had earlier announced the influenza A (h1N1) virus as a "novel" virus,not previously circulated in humans in April after it became a lethal killer in Mexico.
So far there is no vaccine.So beware of phoney swine flu treatment promoted by anyone on the internet.
In most cases,the sufferers recover but in between 0.4 and 1.4 percent of sufferers,death can occur.
It is feared that this new virus can mutate and "become more virulent" causing global deaths like the 1918 pandemic that killed between 40 and 100 million people.
People aged 65 and above,children younger than five years,pregnant women,people with health ailments like asthma,diabetes,heart disease,obesity or weakened immune system are most at risk from serious complications that can result in death after the swine flu infection.
WHO,established on First Health Day on April 7,1948, has the objective for "the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health". Its major task is to combat disease,especially contagious infections like this new influenza A (H1N1) virus never seen before in human history, and to promote the general health of people worldwide.
It has 193 member states that include all UN member states except Liechtenstein and two non-UN members - Niue and the Cook Islands.
Last Friday(June 19,2009)the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)gave an update on the US situation,reporting 21,449 cases with 87 deaths.
The CDC has recommended the following preventive measures,viz:-
*Cover nose and mouth with tissue when you cough or sneeze and lessen the spread of this new virus;
*Wash your hands often with soap and water,especially after you cough or sneeze.Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective;
*Avoid touching your eyes,nose and mouth.Germs spread this way;
*Try to avoid close contact with sick people;
*If you are sick with flu-like illness,stay at home for seven days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours,whichever is longer.This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further;
*Follow public health advice regarding school closures,avoding crowds and other social distancing measures.
The symptoms of swine flue are:-
Fever,coughing,headaches,pain in the muscles or joints,sore throat,chills,fatigue and running nose.
In some sufferers,diarrhea and vomiting can occur.
For furtther information,visit CDC site at www.cdc.gov
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