Tens of thousands of people around the world die of flu every year. Is the Influenza A (H1N1) flu virus any different from the regular flu virus?
Just because it is a new strain is it more deadly and more to be feared? Should we continue to go about our business like nothing is happening which is quite the case really according to a World Health Organization report.
The report says that Malaysians are a complacent lot when it comes to dealing with Influenza A(H1N1) and that many Malaysians did not take the disease seriously. The report also said Malaysians had a poor understanding and knowledge about how A(H1N1) spreads.
The WHO officials were invited here to conduct a study in view of the rising number of A(H1N1) patients and fatality. They were in Malaysia for a week studying the flu situation before they submitted their report to the Health Ministry.
However, it was noted that Malaysia’s efficient and sensitive surveillance system was able to accurately record the number of deaths in the country while some other countries were still unable to confirm if patients had died of the disease.
Malaysia's death toll has risen to 72 from 71 a few days ago which is cause for worry though still within limit set by WHO. The officials recommended that more beds be set up at the intensive care units of hospitals, which treat A(H1N1) patients with chronic conditions.
At the same time, WHO warns of the appearance of a severe form of A(H1N1) virus that goes straight to the lungs causing severe illness in otherwise healthy people. According to WHO, the virus travels at an unbelievable, almost unheard-of speed. In six weeks it travels the same distance that other viruses take six months to cover.
Earlier, WHO reported that H1N1 had reached epidemic levels in Japan, signalling an early start to what may be a long influenza season this year, and that it was also worsening in tropical regions.
In case you are interested, these are current stats on Malaysian cases:
365 patients (48 in ICUs) are still infected with the virus; 442 patients admitted for ILI (influenza-like illnesses) while 353 have been discharged. A total of 1598 patients are being treated for ILI in 107 hospitals nationwide including four private hospitals.
So, should we all be more vigilant and play a bigger part in helping keep the virus at bay?