Perak exco debunks viral message of migrant worker with contagious TB fled to Penang

Perak State Health, Consumers Affairs, Civil Society, National Integration and Human Resource Committee chairman A. Sivanesan speaks at a press conference in Ipoh May 23, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak State Health, Consumers Affairs, Civil Society, National Integration and Human Resource Committee chairman A. Sivanesan speaks at a press conference in Ipoh May 23, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, May 23 — A recent WhatsApp message purporting that a Bangladeshi worker diagnosed with chronic tuberculosis (TB) who fled Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (HRPB) here is fake news, Perak state executive councillor A. Sivanesan said today.

The state health, consumer affairs, civil society, national integration and human resources committee chairman said checks with the hospital showed no such patient existed.

“The case itself is fake. There was no admission of a Bangladesh foreign worker with that particular name and diseases was reported in the hospital,” he told a press conference at the State Secretariat Building here.

Locals have recently been getting a message through WhatsApp stating that a Bangladeshi worker named Md Joyal, supposedly diagnosed with the contagious disease by the Jelapang Health Clinic, had run away from HRPB where he was allegedly admitted for treatment.

The message also claimed that a fellow patient witnessed the escape, while investigation revealed the TB-infected man had gone to Penang where he was supposedly staying with a friend.

The message also claimed: “According to the hospital staff, his TB level is 18++ which is very critical and contagious. It can spread to anyone who come [sic] contact to him”.

Sivanesan said as of May 23, a total of 635 TB cases were registered at the government hospitals around Perak.

Of the number, 22 cases involved foreigners, he said, adding that there was only one case involving a Bangladeshi. The bulk were from Indonesia with 13 patients, Vietnam with three, two each from Nepal and Myanmar, and one from India.

“Almost 80 per cent of TB cases in Perak are lung TB. People can be infected by breathing in air droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person.

“However, a person who is diagnosed with TB need to be isolated and need to receive full treatment, failing to do so can be taken action by the authorities,” the Perak lawmaker added.

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