Sabtu, 15 Ogos 2009


PUTRAJAYA, Aug 14 — With the number of reported H1N1 cases continuing to increase every day, the government is concerned that the public, including health practitioners, are not taking the disease seriously.
“Today if I’m running a clinic, if anybody comes with a flu, I will assume it’s H1N1,” said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican in an interview with The Malaysian Insider.
“Some doctors wait for results to start treatment, we said no need. Let us assume anybody who gets admitted with severe pneumonia in this country, assume it’s H1N1 and start antiviral treatment from Day One,” he added.
“We have seen from those cases, a lot of them were diagnosed late, they saw doctors, and there was a low index of suspicion, you must have a high index of suspicion,” said Dr Ismail on the reported deaths so far.
Malaysia first reported an H1N1 infection in May and the first death was recorded only late last month.
More than 50 people have died since and more than 2,000 people have been infected with the virus.
H1N1 Exclusive with Health D-G Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican
The government has also responded to the increase in the H1N1 infection, by doubling the antiviral drug Tamiflu stockpile from 10 per cent of the population to 20 per cent.
It is also prepared to increase the number of ICU beds nationwide.
But Dr Ismail said that Tamiflu should not be freely used as the virus may develop resistance to the drug.
“The worse case scenario is giving Tamiflu to someone who wants to go to Australia, to America just for prophylaxis, to prevent them from getting the disease; it is not on with Tamiflu,” he said.
He said the public should play their role in preventing the spread of the virus.
“My fear is the public is still taking things very lightly. If you go to supermarket or anywhere, you still see people going around coughing, sneezing and they don’t wash their hands,” said Dr Ismail.
“So we are telling the public, if you are sick, stay at home, if you have to go out, wear a mask,” he added.
But Dr Ismail said despite the seriousness of the disease, the recovery rate is around 98 per cent.
“What we are concern about are those in the high-risk category, people with lung disease, obese, pregnant women,” he said, adding that 70 per cent of the people who have died are from the high-risk groups.

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