PETALING JAYA: Five deaths have been recorded out of 13 confirmed diphtheria cases nationwide, the Health Ministry said.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said that from the figures updated as of Wednesday, Malacca had reported three cases with one death, Kedah, six cases with one death, and Sabah, four cases with three deaths.
“All the cases reported in Sabah occurred sporadically with no link to one another, while the cases in Kedah and Malacca occurred in clusters in the families,” he said in a statement issued late Wednesday.
Dr Hisham said that two new cases occurred in Sabah. One case involved a Malaysian aged three who had not received diphtheria immunisation.
The child was confirmed suffering from diphtheria on June 23 and died on June 27, he said.
The second case involved a non-citizen aged five. The child was confirmed having diphtheria on June 28 and was being treated in a hospital isolation ward and was in stable condition.
Dr Hisham said health officers in all states had been alerted about the diphtheria incidents and had increased their surveillance activities.
The immunisation service in health clinics, hospitals and private clinics were reported to have received encouraging response, he said, adding that parents with children below age seven were advised to check their children’s immunisation appointments.
“I urge all parents to be committed in bringing their children to be immunised according to schedule.
“If they have missed it, please go to the nearest clinic and the health staff will arrange for a new schedule,” he said.
Dr Hisham said he hoped the good response would continue as this would ensure that the health of children and their general well-being would be protected through herd immunity, and vaccine preventable diseases do not become a public health problem anymore.