INFLUENZA SITUATION IN SCHOOLS UNDER CONTROL - DR NOOR HISHAM

YASMIN AHMAD ZUKIMAN

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry today dispelled fears over the outbreak of Influenza A or H1N1 virus in schools across the country, saying the situation is under control and measures have been taken to prevent it from spreading.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham said so far, only two schools were closed due to the spread of the virus, namely SM Sains Teluk Intan, Perak (from Jan 11 to 19) and SK Stella Maris in Tanjung Aru, Sabah (from Jan 22 to 28).

He said some classes were also closed in three schools in Penang, each of which involved different durations, following discussions between the health office and the schools concerned.

"The majority of the reports on respiratory tract infections received by the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) at the Health Ministry (MOH), for the first three weeks of 2020 involved schools.

"One of the contributing factors to this situation is the prevalence of influenza virus in densely populated areas such as schools, where students interact with each other during school sessions," he said in a statement today.

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MOH-INFLUENZA 2 (LAST) KUALA LUMPUR

 

The statement said the Ministry of Education is cooperating with MOH to ensure the prevention and control of influenza infection in schools, including conducting town hall sessions specifically for the affected schools.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said that not all flu is caused by influenza, and that patients with the virus generally healed without any specific treatment.

The ministry also reminded the public to practise good hygiene by regularly washing hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser, as well as by getting enough rest, keeping hydrated and seeking treatment if unwell.

The public is also advised not to be fooled by dubious medical claims on products said to be able to treat influenza.

 Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 99,470 doses of influenza vaccine are expected to be brought to Malaysia this month, out of which 16,839 doses had passed the quality assessment check by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) today, and suppliers would be distributing the stock to all the facilities that have applied for them.

He said another 15,000 doses had arrived in the country and would undergo quality checks in the near future, while the remaining 67,631 doses are expected to arrive by the end of January.

At the same time, a total of 35,100 doses of influenza vaccine from alternative suppliers were also brought in to Malaysia this week to meet the current demand.

-- BERNAMA