Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Malaysia free from swine flu: Health DG

Malaysians need not worry about the deadly swine influenza as the country was free of the epidemic, said Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican. He said there were no cases based on observation for signs or ''influenza-like illness''.

Dr Mohd Ismail said to ensure that the situation remained as such the ministry had activated the disease control division yesterday to monitor the situation as well as check for signs of the virus at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and all other entry points.

"The ministry will also have a joint meeting with relevant agencies tomorrow to discuss steps that can be taken to prevent and control any epidemic.

"In that regard, the ministry will make press statements from time to time to inform people about developments and steps taken," he said in a statement here today.

Dr Mohd Ismail said a World Health Organisation (WHO) report dated yesterday said there were 40 cases related to the Swine Influenza A (H1N1) confirmed through laboratory tests in the United States and in Mexico 26 cases with seven deaths.
He said there were 1,840 suspected H1N1 cases in Mexico involving 104 deaths.

Six cases were detected in Canada, two in Scotland and one in Spain while there were 25 cases reported in New Zealand, he said.

Dr Mohd Ismail said based on the situation, WHO had raised the influenza pandemic warning from Phase 3 to Phase 4 and this showed a possibility of a pandemic.

"Phase 4 means the virus going from humans to humans and causing an epidemic among communities but WHO has not placed any restrictions in health, travel and trade that needed to be made.

"The increase in phase does not mean the pandemic could not be stopped but the phase could go down or go up based on the information and situation," he said.

He said given that WHO had raised the level to Phase 4, the Health Ministry advised people not to travel overseas especially to countries affected.

Dr Mohd Ismail also advised individuals who fall sick while travelling to get immediate treatment.