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Dengue, chikungunya and malaria cases in Penang
GEORGE TOWN: There were 334 dengue, 38 chikungunya and 49 malaria cases between May 10 and May 16. In a statement released by state environment, health, welfare and caring society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh’s office, the dengue hotspots are Rifle Range, Sunway Tunas in Bayan Lepas and Kampung Matahari Naik in Bayan Lepas. For malaria, the hotspots are in Ladang Kelapa Sawit in Machang Bubok and Bukit Lada in Bayan Lepas. A majority of the dengue cases (124 cases) and malaria (27) are found on the Northeast side of the island while chikungunya cases were spread throughout the state, with 14 cases in the Northeast and Southwest side of the island. The public is urged to ensure that they clear all mosquito-breeding grounds such as clogged drains and gutters to prevent a spread of the diseases.

theSun

| WEDNESDAY MAY 20 2009

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briefs
Westports helping to screen crew members of ships
KUALA LUMPUR: Westports is assisting the health authorities to screen crew members of vessels docking at the port, especially from countries affected by the influenza A(H1N1). The precautionary measures include close monitoring of crew members for any sign or symptom of illness such as cough, flu or cold. “If there is any suspected case of influenza A(H1N1), the ship will not be allowed to dock and will anchor at open sea to allow the port health authorities to screen the vessel,” Westports said in a statement yesterday. “Highly suspicious cases will be transported directly to Sungai Buloh Hospital.” Westports staff, especially frontliners like the pilots, have been provided with masks and gloves while the rest have been given information on influenza A(H1N1) in the effort to heighten general awareness of hygiene to minimise the risk of infection. At this stage, the port is free of any case and operating normally. – Bernama

Immigration D-G orders detention centres to spruce up
by Bernard Cheah
newsdesk@thesundaily.com

Two Cathay Pacific passengers quarantined
by Husna Yusop
newsdesk@thesundaily.com

SEBERANG PERAI: The Immigration Department has directed all its detention centres nationwide, housing mostly illegal immigrants, to spruce up and observe better hygiene, following the death of a second detainee due to leptospirosis here. Two detainees from Myanmar have now died of the disease, and more than 30 others admitted to hospitals in the state. They were infected while being held in the Juru Detention Camp here. The two, Thang Hoih Ping, 21, and Sa La Hian, 26, died on May 12 and Sunday respectively. Immigration Department director-general Abdul Rahman Othman called on the Myanmar embassy to help reclaim their bodies. Leptospirosis is commonly transmitted to humans through contact with water contaminated by urine of infected animals like rats, mice and dogs. “We have increased cleanliness to improve the health standards of those living in the camps,” Abdul Rahman told a press conference in the department’s office here yesterday. He refused to comment when asked if the bacterial outbreak was due to the low hygiene levels in the Juru camp. “We have yet to get the proper information on the situation,” he said, adding that the department was awaiting the full autopsy report on the deaths of the detainees. “It (leptospirosis) can happen anywhere, even in our own homes. It does not happen in detention camps only. It can happen to anyone,” he said. He stressed that immigration officials welcomed the Health Department to check on the cleanliness levels of the 13 detention camps nationwide. He said a total of 24 detainees were still in hospital wards, 23 in Bukit Mertajam Hospital and one in Seberang Jaya Hospital. “They are all in good health,” Abdul Rahman said. “We hope there are no more admissions for this disease.” Meanwhile, Wanita Gerakan urged the immigration and prison authorities to enforce stringent checks and long-term plans on hygiene in camps for illegal immigrants in the country. It said that an outbreak of diseases at the camps would have a multiplying effect on local populace.

PUTRAJAYA: Two passengers on Cathay Pacific flight CX831 from the United States to Hongkong on May 16 have been placed under quarantine in Kota Kinabalu for being in contact with an influenza A(H1N1) patient while on board. The two foreigners, who had arrived in Sabah on board Dragon Air flight KA061 from Hongkong on May 17, are in good health. Deputy Health Director-General Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat said yesterday Malaysia had been informed about the two contacts by the International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point. “The state health department managed to trace the two who checked in at a homestay in Kota Kinabalu. They are healthy but will be quarantined there until Saturday,” he told a press conference. As at 8am yesterday, Ramlee said, the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre had received 134 notifications of people admitted to hospitals nationwide with flu symptoms, all of whom tested negative for H1N1 except for the two 21-year-old students who returned from New Jersey on May 13 via Malaysia Airlines flight MH091. The male student, who is in Sungai Buloh Hos-

pital’s isolation ward, is in stable condition without any fever except for a slight cough, and the female student is receiving treatment in Penang Hospital after recovering from fever. Family members of both patients are also healthy and under home quarantine. Ramlee said the last three of 17 foreigners on board flight MH091 have been traced and placed under home quarantine. “They were found to be in good health,” he said. “To date, 14 passengers of MH091, 56 passengers of AK5358 and a crew member of the AirAsia flight have yet to be contacted,” he said. Asked what would happen if they could not be found until today, which is the last day of quarantine, he said: “We assume they are not sick.” Bernama reports from Kuantan: Six people, two of them tourists from Sweden, have been under quarantine in Pahang since May 13 for suspected influenza A(H1N1) infection. Pahang health committee chairman Datuk Hoh Khai Mun said the couple from Sweden had been quarantined at a hotel in Jerantut district, while a family of four had been quarantined at their house in Bentong. None of the six showed any symptoms of the disease, he said.
BERNAMAPIX

Japan closes 4,000 schools to check spread
KOBE: Japan closed more than 4,000 schools and kindergartens yesterday, double the previous day’s number, to slow the spread of swine flu which has infected 163 people in the country. Many people in the affected urban areas were wearing face masks after the western cities of Kobe and Osaka became the first in Japan to suffer domestic outbreaks of the (A)H1N1 virus which spread rapidly through two schools. A total of 4,043 schools and kindergartens were closed in and around both cities at the request of government authorities, up from some 2,000 on Monday, an education ministry official said. Japan’s number of confirmed cases has risen to 163 – the fourth largest national figure on the world infection table – in the central Honshu island region since the first confirmed domestic infection was reported Saturday. No fatalities have been reported in Japan. – AFP

Three friends and six-year-old child Chilean victims
SANTIAGO: The Chilean Health Ministry on Monday increased to four the number of infections of the influenza virus A(H1N1) as lessons were suspended at the school which one of the patients attends. Of the four people infected, three were friends who had returned to Chile on Saturday on a flight from the Dominican Republic, via Panama. The fourth was a six-year-old child who had never left the country but who had been in contact with people who had travelled to Mexico, said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, a paediatrician and epidemiologist by training. The school that the child had attended was closed for seven days. The latest global tally from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed 8,829 cases of human infection, including 74 deaths. About 95% of the cases were in North America and a large majority of the deaths were in Mexico. – dpa

Road Transport Department academy trainees Zulkifli Din, Mohd Farid Khamis and Mohd Harris Abu Yazid leave the isolation ward at the Malacca Hospital acompanied by nurses yesterday.

Malacca declared free of meningitis
MALACCA: Malacca was yesterday declared free of meningitis as there are no more patients undergoing treatment for the disease in the Malacca Hospital. State Women’s Affairs, Health and Family Development committee chairman Norpipah Abdol said three remaining patients, comprising trainees of the Road Transport Department Academy, who were treated in the hospital’s isolation ward, were discharged at 8am yesterday. “Four other trainees treated in the same ward were allowed to go home on Monday,” she said at the hospital yesterday. Also present was State Health Director Dr Ghazali Othman. A trainee died of the disease in Malacca Hospital on May 4 and a day later, nine trainees were admitted to the hospital due to meningitis. At one stage, the number of meningitis patients swelled to 41. She said the quarantine order for other trainees in the academy had been withdrawn and all activities are back to normal. “The public should no longer be worried and should continue with their normal activities and keep maintaining hygiene,” she said. She thanked the Health Department, doctors and staff in the hospital for acting swiftly in containing the disease. – Bernama

Greece confirms first case after tests on student
ATHENS: Greece on Monday confirmed its first case of swine flu after a 19-year-old student who recently returned from the United States was hospitalised with strains of the virus, health officials said. Deputy health minister Giorgos Papagiorgos confirmed the case after a second test was conducted on the student who returned from New York on Saturday. The young man was being treated at Seismanoglou Hospital in Athens and officials said precautionary tests would be conducted on the other passengers on the plane travelling to Greece with the student. He was first taken to the hospital by his father in the early hours on Monday after experiencing a cough and high fever. After initial tests were conducted, he was told to return home but was later taken by ambulance to Seismanoglou after the second test came out positive. – dpa

DPM tells remaining air passengers to seek treatment
SEPANG: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday urged passengers from Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH091 and AirAsia’s AK5358 to come forward and seek treatment. “I hope that those who were on the two flights will come forward for treatment for their own safety and health,” he said after visiting the KL International Airport (KLIA) here. Flight MH091 from Newark Airport in the United States had carried two passengers who were found to have contracted Influenza A (H1N1) virus. One of them later took flight AK5358 from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal to Penang. Health Deputy Director-General Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat said on Monday “we are still looking for 69 passengers of flight AK5358 and 17 passengers of flight MH091”. Ramlee said other passengers of both flights, who had undergone check-ups, were tested negative for the virus. – Bernama