Materia Medica Malaysiana

February 5, 2007

No Travel Restriction To Bird-flu Hit Countries, Says Health D-G

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:08 pm

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 5 (Bernama) — The Health Ministry does not restrict or bar any travellers from countries that have avian influenza or bird flu among poultry or humans from visiting Malaysia.
Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said that the ministry also does not stop Malaysians from visiting the affected countries.
“Nevertheless, we would like to advise the people not to visit farms confirmed to have H5N1 avian influenza nor visit wet markets in countries that have reported H5N1,” he said at a news conference here Monday.
Dr Ismail said anyone who had symptoms like fever, cough and sore throat, had come in contact with poultry or had just returned from countries that had reported cases of H5N1 were advised to seek early treatment.
“They should inform the doctor of their travel history and contact with poultry,” he said.
From 2003 until Feb 3, 2007, a total of 271 cases among humans have been confirmed as avian influenza H5N1 and reported to the World Health Organisation. Of the 271, 165 have died.
Dr Ismail said that in the first month of 2007, eight cases of H5N1 in humans had been reported — six in Indonesia and one each in Egypt and Nigeria.
Although bird flu was detected among poultry in Malaysia in 2004 and 2006, there had not been any cases involving humans in the country, he said.
He added that since June 2006 when Malaysia was declared free from H5N1 (detected in poultry), there had not been any new cases detected.
Dr Ismail said that based on the surveillance of influenza-like illness, (ILI), the rate of ILI consultation at sentinel clinics for the first and second week of 2007 was about 0.1 per cent which was less than the threshold set.
“The surveillance on influenza virus being done at designated laboratories shows that there has been no avian influenza virus A H5N1 among humans in Malaysia,” he explained.

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