M'sia hit with first A(H1N1) flu case

M'sia hit with first A(H1N1) flu case
Malaysia has confirmed its first case of A(H1N1) infection, with a 21-year old student, who just returned home from the United States, hit by the flu that has spread to all five continents.“Malaysia is now on high alert,” said Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai.However, health experts advised the public not to be unduly worried as the disease was nowhere as deadly as initially feared.

Most of the 65 people who have died so far from the flu already had underlying health problems, they added.

They warned that the disease should not be used by any quarters, including federal government agencies, to cause panic.

“So far most people who have contracted the new A (H1N1) virus have experienced influenza-like symptoms (such as sore throat, cough, runny nose, fever, malaise, headache, joint/muscle pain) and recovered without antiviral treatment,” said the WHO in a statement on its website.

“We should be alert, responsive and transparent. But to come out with dramatic statements when almost all the countries have been hit is ridiculous. Just monitor carefully and make sure you manage well. Talk less, work more! That’s what all the other countries are doing,” said a Malaysian health expert.

First case

Meanwhile, Health Department director-general Ismail Merican said the Malaysian student was warded on May 14 after suffering fever, sore throat and body aches.

“This is the first A (H1N1) flu case found in Malaysia,” Ismail said in the statement. “He is receiving anti-viral treatment and is in stable condition.”

The patient had returned from the US a day before and is currently warded at the central quarantine facility in Sungei Buloh, Selangor.

In another case, a man from Bukit Mertajam held under observation at the isolation ward of the Penang Hospital, was declared free of the H1N1.

“We just got a report that the blood test on the 26-year-old man was negative,” State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said.

WHO says no need for travel restriction

According to the WHO, as of 06.00 GMT, Wednesday, 6,497 cases have been reported by 33 countries, with 65 deaths.

Mexico has 2,446 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection, including 60 deaths. The US has reported 3,352 laboratory confirmed human cases, including three deaths.

Canada has reported 389 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Costa Rica has reported eight laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Argentina (1), Australia (1), Austria (1), Brazil (8), China (4), Colombia (7), Cuba (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (4), Finland (2), France (14), Germany (12), Guatemala (3), Ireland (1), Israel (7), Italy (9), Japan (4), Netherlands (3), New Zealand (7), Norway (2), Panama (29), Poland (1), Portugal (1), Republic of Korea (3), Spain (100), Sweden (2), Switzerland (1), Thailand (2), and the United Kingdom (71).

The WHO is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

However, it advises individuals who are ill to delay travel plans and returning travelers who fall ill should seek appropriate medical care. These recommendations are prudent measures which can limit the spread of many communicable diseases, including influenza.