KUALA LUMPUR: A number of snakebite cases involving schoolchildren recently does not necessitate the stocking of snake antivenom in schools, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
There is ample supply of the antivenom at all government hospitals in the country, he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.
The minister was commenting on schoolchildren having been bitten by snakes, the latest case involving a Form Three student of Sekolah Dato’ Abdul Razak Sungai Gadut, Seremban, a residential school, who was attacked on April 23.
A Year Two pupil was bitten during physical education at a school in Rembau, also in Negeri Sembilan, on April 20 while a Year One pupil died after being bitten by a snake at Sekolah Kebangsaan Dato’ Hashim 1, Pengkalan Chepa, in Kota Baharu, Kelantan, on April 19.
During question time in the Dewan Negara, Dr Subramaniam said the government would decide in June or July whether to use of the newly discovered dengue vaccine.
He said a pharmaceutical company had submitted an evaluation and the vaccine would be registered in the country, but it would be left to the government how the vaccine would be used.
He was replying to a supplementary question from Senator Chandra Mohan S. Tambirajah who had wanted to know whether Malaysia would emulate the Philippines in approving the sale of the vaccine.
Dr Subramaniam said studies showed that the vaccine could help bring down the number of serious dengue cases and reduce the number of cases admitted to hospital.
Replying to the original question, from Senator Datuk Abdul Rahman Mat Yasin, on checking the breeding of the Aedes mosquito, carrier of the dengue virus, he said that up to April 5 some 574 lots of idle land in the country were cleared as one measure of doing so.
He also said that a large-scale nationwide Aedes enforcement operation was being held over two months from April 11, particularly at hotspots and epidemic areas.