11 August 2009

H1N1 in Malaysia

Published: Tuesday August 11, 2009 MYT 12:21:00 PM
A(H1N1): Death toll now 38 with six more deaths
PUTRAJAYA: The death toll due to the Influenza A (H1N1) now stands at 38 with six more deaths reported over the last 24 hours.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said new cases recorded also stood at all time high with 270 bringing the total number of cases to 2, 253.

The above was reported in the Star's online news feed today. Since a week ago, the fatality stats have been climbing steadily, as has the rate of infection. 270 new cases in the last 24 hours!

But reporting has been muted and the govt's response has merely been that they are aware of the situation, that screening may not be done on everyone with flu symptoms , only those at risk are warded while others impose self quarantine and receive outpatient treatment. The Ministry of Education said that they will start to distribute thermometers and face masks to schools, ensuring that every school has at least one (1) thermometer. One thermometer for a whole school??

Malaysia has experienced SARS and the bird flu in the past. But what proactive steps have been rolled out to ensure minimal spread of infectious diseases among our children in schools?

I understand that a neighbouring country which also suffered through SARS and bird flu has established clear guidelines and action to be taken by schools in the event of the spread of disease. Such as ensuring each and every student has a thermometer (not an entire school sharing one thermometer), checking students' temperatures twice a day in school and sending those with fever home.

The August school holidays are approaching and with the H1N1 situation worsening, I would hope that the govt would consider closing schools early for a 2-week holiday instead of the usual 1-week.


  1. I think there are many cases that are not reported in the newspapers. The govt is trying to 'play down' the stats, to avoid creating a panic situation (I think).
    About a month ago, 2 boys in my nephew's school in Seremban were confirmed with the flu. The authorities only closed 2 classes. The worse thing is this - the other students were not informed of the situation. They went about going to school as normal. But all the teachers wore masks to school! When my sister called up the school, they said it's unconfirmed. Then about 2 weeks later, the Star reported about the cases! Even then, when my sister called the school to ask about the news report, the school said it was 'old news'!
    With this kind of attitude, how to contain the spread?

  2. I understand the govt trying not to create a panic, but I agree with you that there should be enough news and honest communication. If there are cases in the school, then all must be informed about it!
    In my son's class alone, 11 boys were absent from school yesterday, with what I don't know.

  3. I wish to recommend you to read some articles written by a doctor, Dr.Hsu on H1N1. He has written 3 posts on this and gives unbiased, layman info on the flu.
    This is the link to his latest post, you can find the 2 links to his earlier posts in this link too.