Influenza A outbreak: 53 students infected in Penang

A notice of closure is seen on the door of a classroom at SJK (C) Li Hwa in Butterworth January 8, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A notice of closure is seen on the door of a classroom at SJK (C) Li Hwa in Butterworth January 8, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 9 ― A total of 53 students from 24 primary and secondary schools in Penang have come down with influenza as of today compared to 19 cases reported yesterday, said state education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad.

He said although there was an increase in the number of influenza cases, no schools were ordered to close except the two Year Two classes at a national-type Chinese school (SJKC) Li Hwa, Butterworth, which remained closed since yesterday.

“We detected influenza infection at SJKC Li Hwa on Tuesday after several Year 2 pupils were absent from school and personnel from the North Seberang Perai (SPU) district education office and district health office visited the school to conduct inspection and screening.

“As of yesterday, 19 students from both classes have been infected and the health authorities have ordered both classes to be closed for 12 days for cleaning and disinfection. However, today I was informed that two more students have been infected,” he told reporters, here today.

He said currently 45 students from 17 primary schools including SJKC Li Hwa and eight students from seven secondary schools were infected with the virus and thus far, the SPU district recorded the most cases at 27.

Asked whether there would be a replacement class for the affected students, he said the teachers would conduct such class for the 72 Year Two pupils so that they would not miss out on lessons.

Meanwhile, Abdul Rashid said both state education department and health department had taken proactive steps by carrying out monitoring to ensure the cleanliness at schools and students experiencing the symptoms to receive prompt treatment.

He said they also took immediate measures to prevent the disease from spreading by distributing face masks in all schools.

“I have sent a letter to all the schools in Penang to take urgent steps including maintaining cleanliness while students experiencing the symptoms of influenza such as persistent fever, cough and cold are urged to seek immediate treatment at a nearby clinic or hospital and rest at home,” he said. ― Bernama

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