PUTRAJAYA, 10 June 2009: Two new Influenza A(H1N1) cases have been detected in the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to nine.
Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the eighth case involved a 17-year-old American student who accompanied her parents for a holiday in the country.
He said the family arrived in the country through Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 from Newark via Stockholm at 6.30am on 8 June. The girl occupied seat 18G on the flight.
“She was having a fever when she arrived at the KL International Airport and was warded at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan at 10.51am for further check and treatment,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after chairing the Technical Committee on Influenza A(H1N1) today.
Dr Mohd Ismail said the ninth case was a New Zealand national who arrived in the country at 7.30am on 5 June on an Air Asia flight DX7 2723.
“She was on the same flight with the Australian student who was confirmed as Malaysia’s seventh influenza A(H1N1) case on Saturday,” he added.
However, he said the woman continued with her journey to Penang on board Malaysia Airline MH1138 at 9.15am and arrived at the Bayan Lepas International Airport at 10.15am before taking a taxi to a hotel where she checked in at 1pm.
“She met her friends and then went on a tour of the island on a tour bus before she was tracked down as a contact to the seventh case, following which she was placed under quarantine at the hotel at 4.15pm on Sunday.
“She began having fever, a cough and body ache at about 11pm and contacted the health department nearby at 9am the following day, when she was then sent to the Penang Hospital in a special ambulance,” he added.
Dr Mohd Ismail said the New Zealand woman and the American student have been given anti-viral treatment and were both in stable condition, adding that the student’s parents had been placed under house quarantine and were in good health.
He said the ministry was tracing the contacts who had flown on the same flight with the woman and the student, as well as other passengers in the tour bus in Penang, and staff of the Holiday Inn Hotel where she had checked into.
Dr Mohd Ismail said a total of 36 notification cases have been received nationwide, of which 31 were tested negative while five others were awaiting the results of laboratory tests.
He also said that effective tomorrow, not everybody who was found to be having fever on arrival in the country would be sent to hospitals for Influenza A(H1N1) checks.
“Only those arriving from countries with the Influenza A pandemic or countries which recorded new cases actively or those with pneumonia will be sent to hospitals, if they have fever.
“Other than that, we will do the throat swabs at the points of entry, and then we will advise them to take care of themselves, give them high quality masks, and then they can go home, but they must quarantine themselves pending the outcome of the result, which will take 24 hours, to know whether they are infected or not.
“We don’t want to inconvenience the people, but we hope, and trust them, to make sure they do not do things that shouldn’t be done, and to follow the health advice,” he added.
Asked about a Canadian who escaped home quarantine, Dr Mohd Ismail said no action would be taken against him as his result was negative for the Influenza A virus.
He also said that checks at the entry points would be stepped up as more students from the US and Europe were expected to arrive in the country for their summer vacation.
As for Malaysian students abroad, he advised those who were having symptoms of the Influenza A to postpone their return and to seek medical treatment before doing so.
Dr Mohd Ismail said that the World Health Organisation, in its latest report, stated that there have been 25,586 Influenza A(H1N1) cases, including 139 deaths, in 73 countries. — Bernama