“If you have flu and cough, take it seriously,” Liow
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has recorded the first influenza A (H1N1)-related death from a local transmission, signalling that the flu in the country is worsening.
The 42-year-old man, who died on Monday, is the third victim to have died from the flu.
The two earlier deaths were linked to imported cases of the H1N1. They were a 46-year-old Malaysian man, who had worked in Belgium and died last Sunday and a 30-year-old Islamic finance student from Indonesia who died on July 21.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Malaysian man was reported to have died from severe pneumonia with multi-organ failure at 4.40pm on Monday after being treated for 10 days in a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the victim had received oupatient treatments from several private clinics and hospitals since July 6 before being referred and admitted to the private hospital on July 18.
“In the ward, he was diagnosed to be suffering from diabetes mellitus and chest x-ray showed that he was also suffering from pneumonia,” he told reporters at the operations room at the Health Ministry here Tuesday.
Liow said the victim was transferred to the intensive care unit after having breathing difficulties and requiring ventilator.
He said when his condition deteriorated, a throat swab was taken on July 22 and he was confirmed to be H1N1 positive the following day.
“The swab was taken very late on July 22. Despite being in hospital, these three victims all died. They couldn’t be saved. Now we’ve found out that the treatment came to them very late. I’m very concerned.”
He said he had directed all private clinics and hospitals to be vigilant and be on high alert as well as have anti-viral drug, Tamiflu to handle the H1N1 cases.
“Everyone must be responsible and on high alert. This is a pandemic season now. If you have flu and cough, take it seriously,” he said, adding that the rate of death risk for those infected with H1N1 was 0.4% to 0.5%
He advised the public to wear mask, take care of their personal hygiene and try to practice social distancing if they were having sore throat and cough.
He said those with flu-like symptoms must go to the hospital and if confirmed to have with H1N1, they should take Tamiflu.
Asked whether local users had suffered reactions after taking Tamiflu as shown by some foreign users,
Liow said :”No. Not in Malaysia. At the early stage, the Health director-general had warned the public not to simply take Tamiflu. Take it when you have the symptoms.”
Liow also had directed the National Pandemic Preparedness Plan technical committee to address all issues, including late treatment and convey the message to the private clinics and hospitals.
He also disclosed that as at July 28, there were 95 new local H1N1 cases involving Malaysians with one death.
Of the total, 68 cases were from 19 new clusters while 22 cases were from the existing 11 clusters and five others were sporadic or isolated cases.
Up till July 28, total reported cases stood at 1,219, with three deaths reported.
Of the total, 53% or 645 are local infections while 47% or 574 are imported cases.
“Local transmission cases have exceeded imported cases. Our local infections is spreading so fast throughout the country with 19 new clusters. This is a bad sign,” Liow said.
He said 98% of the total reported cases or 1,198 have recovered while the remaining 2% or 21 cases were receiving anti-viral treatment at the hospital and at home.
Asked whether the H1N1 cases involving six students from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Titiwangsa campus, who were quarantined was a new cluster case, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican confirmed the cases but said that it was not a new cluster.