Sunday, August 9, 2009

August 9 H1N1 Update - Malaysia

I get hits like "Is it safe to visit Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia in view of H1N1?". Thought I'd give a brief update on the situation in Malaysia.

Yes, it is safe to visit Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia for that matter. The government is monitoring the situation closely and has advised the people to be vigilant and take the necessary steps to contain the flu. Below is an update on what is being done.

With the death toll risen to 18 todate, the Malaysian Health Minister said that H1N1 has established foothold and yesterday announced three new strategies to counter the pandemic.

The new measures are aimed at making H1N1 testing and treatment more widely available and accessible to the public, and will take immediate effect.

The three new strategies are:

* all clinics and hospitals, both private and public, are encouraged to use rapid influenza screening tests for those with flu-like symptoms who request to be tested. Such tests should be done as close as possible to the onset of symptoms. All cases testing positive for H1N1 can be treated immediately with the antiviral oseltamivir;

* all clinics and hospitals, both private and public, can now treat patients suspected of having contracted H1N1 with oseltamivir. This is particularly essential for those who test positive on the rapid test and those with risk factors and co-morbidities. However, those with more severe illness, with associated risk factors and co-morbidities, should be referred to hospitals for treatments; and,

* the ministry will make all efforts to ensure the supply of antiviral in the market would not be disrupted.

A statement issued by the ministry yesterday, however, pointed out that the rapid tests are only 70-75 per cent accurate and advised patients with flu-like symptoms but tested negative for influenza A to also observe all precautions and seek further treatment if their condition worsened.

The Ministry will also stop daily reporting on the number of tested and confirmed cases in Malaysia, in line with the World Health Organisation’s stand in stopping such reports. This is because the WHO feels that such reports no longer give an accurate view of the actual situation on the ground.

However, the number of cases admitted in hospitals for inpatient treatment and deaths will still be reported. The ministry would continue to monitor and report on cluster outbreaks to make sure preventive measures can be put in place quickly.
Source: NST

All clinics and hospitals in the public and private sectors could now treat patients suspected of having contracted A (H1N1) with oseltamvir, better known as Tamiflu.
SourceL The Star

While in the United States..
Most schools should be able to stay open even if swine flu outbreaks occur again this fall, government officials said Friday as they issued recommendations for dealing with the illness when the school year starts.

The nation has 130,000 schools, 55 million students and 7 million staff members. Closing schools may mean that parents have to stay home or find child care, which some cannot afford.

The advice to schools includes telling staff members and students to stay home when they are sick and not to return for at least 24 hours after the fever goes away. This differs from earlier guidelines, which advised staying home for seven days.

I wonder why people in the US are still calling this Influenza A (H1N1) the swine flu..
Source: New York Times


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