Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 14, 2007

7m people at risk if pandemic hits

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:48 am

NST: PETALING JAYA: More than seven million people will be affected if human infection of the bird flu reaches pandemic levels in the country.
This dire warning came from the Health Ministry’s Disease Control Division director Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman, who said that 40 per cent of the victims would be children.
“Between two and 22 per cent of those who seek treatment will need hospitalisation,” he said when presenting a paper on the “Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan” at the second day of the scientific programme of the KL-OIC Health Ministerial Conference 2007 yesterday.
Of those hospitalised, he said, 15 per cent would require intensive care.
Dr Hasan said there was a possibility of a pandemic influenza outbreak if the number of countries affected by bird flu kept increasing and there was a rise in the number of avian and human cases.
“What is of great concern is that a majority of the population has no immunity.”
So far, 12 countries have reported 310 people infec-ted with the virus, with 189 deaths recorded.
Looking at the affected countries, Dr Hasan said there was a 90 per cent chance that the pandemic would start in Asia and spread rapidly worldwide.
Among the challenges countries would be facing would be an overloaded healthcare system, inadequate medical supplies and heavy economic losses.
“There is a serious need for the private and public sector to work together during such a crisis and the media to play a crucial role in imparting information to avert unrest and chaos.”
He said Malaysia had begun preparing for the bird flu and pandemic influenza since 2003. The National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan was launched last year and had helped in ensuring there were no cases of infected humans despite four separate bird flu outbreaks.
The government had also allocated a special funding of RM60.4 million, with a yearly allocation of RM47 million for continuous preparation for the outbreaks including antiviral stockpiles, vaccination, training and surveillance.

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