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Colombia confirms first death, Mexico toll rises to 108
BOGOTA: Colombia has confirmed its first death from the A(H1N1) flu virus which has killed more than 140 people across the world, local authorities said on Tuesday. The victim was a woman, 24, from a poor Bogota neighbourhood, who died on Friday while hospitalised in the capital, Social Protection Minister Diego Palacio and health officials told reporters. Colombia now has 34 confirmed cases of the virus, most of whom recently returned from overseas travel. In Mexico City, the health ministry said Mexico’s swine flu death toll rose by two to 108 on Tuesday, with more than 500 cases confirmed, bringing the total infections to 6,133. The ministry, however, insisted the virus was still on the decline. “It’s important to point out that there are very few recent new cases,” a statement by the ministry said. Almost 52% of cases were women, and more than 70% were between 20 and 54 years old, the ministry said. All of Mexico’s 32 states have registered A(H1N1) flu cases, with most in the sprawling capital of Mexico City. The country is struggling to recover after the epidemic struck its crisis-hit economy in April, when tourists fled and many businesses shut down. The World Health Organisation earlier Tuesday said the world was getting “very, very close” to a swine flu pandemic. – AFP


PKR to directly elect leaders pg 6

Two new cases of H1N1 bring total to nine
A(H1N1) ZA



by Husna Yusop

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has reported two new cases of influenza A(H1N1) – a 17-year-old American student and 52-yearold New Zealand citizen, both women – making it nine cases altogether. All these are “imported” cases. Following this, the Health Ministry is tracing 340 fellow travellers of the American student, comprising passengers and crew members of Malaysia Air-

lines’ flight MH091 from Newark to Kuala Lumpur, which arrived here at 6.30am on Monday. At the same time, it is also identifying 20 contacts of the New Zealander – passengers of a tourist bus and staff of Holiday Inn Hotel in Penang, Health Director-General Tan Sri Ismail Merican said yesterday. “The student came here for holiday with her parents and was detected by the thermoscanner at the airport for fever. She was referred to Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban and admitted for further treatment at 10.51am the same day (Monday),” he said. “Further investigation found that she had fever 10 days before coming here but both her parents were healthy. The parents are under home quarantine while she is receiving antiviral treatment,” Ismail told a press conference. The second case was one of the contacts of a previous positive case who had arrived in Malaysia at 7.30am on Friday via AirAsia flight DX7 2723 from Melbourne. Ismail said the woman continued her journey to Penang by MAS flight MH1138 at 9.15am and arrived there at 10.15am before taking a taxi to the hotel, where she checked in at 1pm. “While on the island, she met a friend and went for a tour on a tourist bus. The next day, she was put under quarantine from 4.15pm after being identified as a contact of a previous case,” he said. “She began to develop fever, cough and muscle ache at 11pm and contacted the nearby health office at 9am the next day.” She was taken to Penang

-8 881 00/3 Hospital 02 in a special ambulance for further treatment and is in stable condition and receiving antiviral treatment. Apart from the two cases, 36 notifications were received by hospitals nationwide. Of these, 31 were confirmed negative and the others have yet to receive their results. As at Tuesday, the cumulative cases were at 553 (539 negative, nine positive and five awaiting results). Two hundred and four contacts of previous cases are under home quarantine. As of 8am yesterday, the World Health Organisation reported 25,586 cases with 139 deaths from 73 countries – an increase of 80 cases from the previous day. Ismail also said that beginning today, the ministry will introduce new screening procedures at the airport to ease the inconvenience faced by the people. It affects those detected as having fever by the thermoscanner but do not come from countries with local transmissions or countries actively reporting new cases and do not have pneumonia symptoms. “Currently, the procedure is, they will be sent to the hospitals immediately but from tomorrow, we will do the throat swab for them at the airports or entry points,” he said. “Then, we will counsel them, provide them with masks and tell them that they can go home but must quarantine themselves. Then, we will give them the result (swab test) within 24 hours and tell them whether they are infected or not.”

Avoid these four traditional products, says ministry
KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has advised the public to avoid buying or using four traditional products that contain sibutramine, aminotadalafil, diphenhydramine and paracetamol. The director of the ministry’s pharmacy services division, Eisah Abdul Rahman, said yesterday the four products were Bodybeaus, Jinglida, Eng Leong Cordyceps Chuanbei Plus Cough Pill 3.m, and Loong Choo Brand Reh Bih Ho Herbal Tea. “Their product registration has been cancelled by the Drug Control Authority (DCA) at the 216th DCA meeting because they were detected to contain ingredients that are not allowed to be formulated in a traditional product,” she said in a statement here. Eisah said there are pharmaceutical products containing sibutramine, tadalafil, diphenhydramine and paracetamol that are registered with the DCA. These products have been evaluated for their safety, efficacy and quality. “However, these products, except paracetamol, can only be supplied by doctors and pharmacists. The use of these products without proper diagnosis and monitoring by a doctor can cause serious adverse effects such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular effects (sibutramine). Tadalafil or its analogs can cause low blood pressure and other cardiovascular effects,” she said. “The use of diphenhydramine without control may cause the user to suffer low blood pressure, cardiovascular effects, sedation, tiredness, disturbed coordination, confusion and blurred vision.” Eisah said paracetamol can be used for self-medication but when the traditional product does not declare its paracetamol content, a user who is already using paracetamol may be taking excessive doses which is toxic to the liver. “Since the quality and safety of these products that are available in the market is not guaranteed by DCA, the public is advised to avoid these products. Sellers are reminded that possession for sale of these products is an offence under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984,” she said. Anyone who commits an offence under these regulations can be fined up to RM25,000 or be jailed up to three years or both for the first offence. A company found guilty can be fined up to RM50,000 for the first offence and fined up to RM100,000 for subsequent offence. – Bernama