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All Health Facilities To Step Up Monitoring For H5N1 Avian Flu

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KUALA LUMPUR – The Health Ministry has instructed all health facilities to step up monitoring for infuenza-like illness and respiratory infections for early detection of H5N1 avian flu cases in humans.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the monitoring is for those who seek treatment at health clinics.

He said medical personnel must improve infection control procedures in health facilities as well as the use of full protective equipment while conducting their field activities.

“The health status of the members involved will also be monitored daily to ensure that no infections among those who carry out field activities,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Noor Hisham was commenting on the avian flu cases detected in Kampung Pulau Tebu, Tunjong, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, when several dead kampung chickens tested positive for bird flu.

Yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam confirmed that there have been no H5N1 avian flu infection in humans thus far, even though there are cases of infected chickens in Kelantan.

Dr Noor Hisham said case detection activities involving 58 houses, 235 residents, 21 medical personnel and 45 members of Department of Veterinary Services (DVS)’s laboratory division, were carried out within 300 metres radius from the location of dead chickens in Kampung Pulau Tebu.

He said the early signs of bird flu are high fever (above 38 degrees Celsius), sore throat, cough, headache, muscle pain, joint pains or fatigue.

“People are advised to seek treatment at health facilities immediately if they have the symptoms and have been exposed to dead chickens tested positive for the virus or any birds that have died suspiciously.

“For those involved in handling and preparing chicken for consumption – slaughtering, processing the meat and selling – they must wear face mask, apron,
rubber or plastic gloves and waterproof rubber or pvc boots and wash their hands with clean water and soap,” he said.

He said for six isolated cases involving members of the DVS, who experienced mild symptoms, they have been discharged on March 6.

“A case involving a villager admitted to the isolation ward at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Hospital, Kelantan on March 8, the patient  tested negative for H5N1 but positive for Influenza B,” he said. – BERNAMA

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