Sarawak : H1N1 - Five local transmissions!

Sarawak recorded five local Influenza A (H1N1) transmissions as of yesterday when the state’s number 14 case was confirmed in Kuching earlier in the day.

But by 10pm last night, cases No. 15 and No. 16 were confirmed.

In a press conference earlier yesterday, Minister of Environment and Public Health Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh announced a local transmission case that involved a 15-year-old Kuching boy who had no history of travel.

“The boy who is also case number nine is the younger brother of case number seven.

He was down with cough and fever with a temperature of 39 Celsius on July 4,” said Wong.

The boy was admitted to the hospital on the same day and a swab was taken on admission.

“The result was known on July 5, where he tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1),” said Wong.

He added that the boy was now in stable condition in the hospital ward.

The boy was Sarawak’s case number 14.

The other four local transmission cases, however, seem to reflect the speed at which personal contact could trigger the spread of the virus.

These cases were brought to the attention of The Borneo Post by Wong in a telephone interview late last night.

According to him, the state’s number eight case was that of a husband who had returned from outside the state and had spread the virus to his wife and three children.
He said the family was warded at the Miri Hospital.

Wong also spoke of patient number 10, a 34-year-old male from Bintulu, who developed a sore throat and runny nose without a fever on July 2.

“He went to Bintulu hospital on July 4 and a throat swab was taken to test for Influenza A (H1N1). The man was later quarantined at home,” said Wong.

The positive result for A (H1N1) was confirmed yesterday.

He said the patient, who had travelled to China and Hong Kong, is now receiving treatment at the Bintulu General Hospital.

“He came back to Miri on July 2 and from there, travelled back to Bintulu on July 3. And we are trying to identify all those whom he had come into contact with earlier,” said Wong.

Wong called in at 10pm last night to say two more cases had been confirmed from Kuching, bringing the state’s total number of swine flu cases to 16.

“State has recorded its 15th and 16th cases from foreigners. Both are foreigners, but there is no cause for alarm,” he assured.

Case No. 15 was a 24-year-old student from Denmark by the name of Lasse Lykke Roerpack.
The case came to Kuching through London on July 1 and Kuala Lumpur on July 2. Lasse, who travelled on AirAsia flight, developed fever and cough on July 3. On July 4, he was presented to Sarawak General Hospital with fever at 39 degrees Celsius.

He has been given tamiflu vaccine since July 4.

Case No. 16 was Emily Jasmine Ngu Beixe, a 25-year-old Malaysian banker. She works in Singapore and came back to Kuching on July 2 on AirAsia flight number AK6674, arriving Kuching at 10 pm.

She had cough and sore throat since July 1, and went to the Sarawak General Hospital A&E, with fever and running nose on July 2. She was put under home quarantine as patient under investigation since July 4. Results came back positive yesterday.

Asked about preventive measures, Wong said there was no reason to panic, as the state had taken every precautionary measure possible.

He called on the people to take self-precautionary measures, such as wearing masks and maintaining a high level of personal hygiene at all times.

“And if you have symptoms, you need to seek immediate medical treatment,” he advised.

Wong stressed that those who had travelled to A (H1N1) affected countries must be very honest when filling their declaration forms.

He said they should also go on self-imposed quarantine for about one week.

“This is for your own good and for the good of others,” he said.

Earlier, state Health Department director Dr Mohd Kamil Hassan said the department had the necessary contingency plan in place. This included the screening of passengers at airports.

“And we expect people to be honest in their declaration whether they had been to H1N1 affected countries or down with flu-like symptoms,” said Dr Kamil.

Hospitals, he added, were also equipped with isolation wards.

He assured that there was a sufficient supply of medication – Tamiflu – for those who tested positive for the virus.

Dr Kamil echoed Wong’s advice to practise a high standard of hygiene, to prevent the virus from spreading to others, particularly among family members.

Among those present at the press conference were Pelawan assemblyman Vincent Goh, Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King, deputy chairman Daniel Ngieng, secretary Hii Chang Kee and Sibu General Hospital director Dr Chin Zin Hing.

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