Wednesday June 17, 2009
By DHARMENDER SINGH
A 17-year-old girl admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital has been identified as the first locally transmitted A(H1N1) case in Malaysia.
Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said authorities identified the case as due to local transmission after finding out that the teenager had not visited any of the countries where a flu pandemic had been declared.
He said the girl went to the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) at about 10am on Monday to seek treatment after developing a fever and was later sent to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
"Investigations revealed that the girl, who is the 19th confirmed A (H1N1) case in Malaysia, had contact with the 12th case that was confirmed on June 13," he said in statement issued Wednesday.
Dr Ismail said the girl was not placed under quarantine earlier as she was not one of those identified as having had contact with the 12th patient — as a result, 20 others have been exposed to the virus.
He said it was vital that all those confirmed as having the A (H1N1) flu give their fullest cooperation by providing complete information on all those who had contact with them as this was the only way to avoid local transmission.
"Action can be taken under the Disease Prevention and Control Act 1988 if they fail to provide complete information to us," he said.
Dr Ismail said that another four confirmed cases were also reported in the 24 hours up to 9am Wednesday, including a 23-year-old local university student who was part of a group of 12 students and lecturers that went on a seven-day visit to Australia on June 7.
The male student had been on the same flight as the 17th confirmed case reported on June 15, which is AirAsia X flight D7 2723 (seat 37J) that landed at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at 7:15am on June 14, he said.
The student developed a fever about five hours after landing here and sought treatment at a private clinic at 9am the next day before being referred to the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban.
He was confirmed as having the flu at 6pm on Tuesday and the Health Ministry is now tracing 37 contacts including other passengers, members of the travel group, relatives and staff at the private clinic where he first sought treatment.
Dr Ismail said the 21st confirmed case involved a 20-year-old studying in Melbourne who travelled home for the holidays on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 (seat 20K) that landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 6am on Tuesday.
The medical student was found to have a fever while at the KLIA and was referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital before being confirmed for having the flu at 6:30am on Wednesday, he said.
The 22nd case, he said, involved a 54-year-old who had returned from Manila on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH 705 (seat 32H) that landed at the KLIA at 8:25am on June 12.
He had complained of cough, fever and headache last Sunday and sought treatment at a private clinic on Monday but was not referred to a hospital.
He went to the UMMC the next day and was sent by ambulance to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital where he was confirmed as suffering from the flu.
His wife and two children have been placed under home quarantine.
"In reference to the 22nd case, we want to issue a strict reminder all private clinics and hospitals to refer all patients with flu-like symptoms to designated A (H1N1) hospitals if they have recently visited countries where there has been an outbreak of the flu.
"Their failure to refer such patients to hospitals is regrettable as it creates a risk of the flu spreading through local transmission," he said.
Dr Ismail said the last case involved a 22-year-old who had been on the same flight as the 20th case and who was admitted to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh on Tuesday morning.
He said with this there were currently 13 patients still being treated: Five at the Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor, three at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, and one each at Penang Hospital, Tunku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan, Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu and Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh.
All of them are receiving anti-viral treatment and are in stable condition, he said.
As at 9pm on Tuesday, 139 people who had had contact with confirmed cases were under home quarantine but none showed any signs of having the flu.
Dr Ismail said the A (H1N1) Influenza Technical Committee had also issued a directive discouraging people and barring children under 12 from visiting hospitals unless they were seeking treatment.
Each patient would only be allowed to receive two visitors above the age of 12 at any time and visiting hours would also be shortened.
"All visitors to private and government hospitals will also be screened for fever," he said.
This article is a verbatim copy of the original article from The Star.