KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The number of influenza cases in several states have increased, with most involving schoolchildren.
In Penang, education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said the number of schoolchildren infected by influenza increased to 178 in 87 primary and secondary schools compared to 161 in 77 schools yesterday.
He said this included 159 pupils of 68 primary schools and 19 from 19 secondary schools, of whom seven are still hospitalised while the rest are quarantined in their own homes.
In Perak, influenza has affected students in 47 schools in nine of the 12 districts in the state, compared to only five districts yesterday.
According to a spokesman of the State Education Department, the affected districts are Kinta (34 cases); Bagan Datuk (17); Larut, Matang and Selama (12); Manjung (8); Kuala Kangsar (4); and one each in Perak Tengah, Kerian, Hilir Perak and Batang Padang, bringing the total number of affected students to 79 compared to 57 yesterday.
Sekolah Menengah Sains Teluk Intan (Semesti) in the Bagan Datuk district is still the only school which has been closed down after 10 students tested positive for H1N1 since Saturday.
In Selangor, 67 per cent of 237 people who were reported positive for the disease were primary and secondary schoolchildren.
According to statistics from the Selangor Education Department, as of yesterday, 548 students from 194 schools had symptoms of ‘Influenza Like Illnesses’ (ILI).
“The public should not panic as the situation is under control and there have only been viral infections, not an epidemic,” he said after chairing a meeting of the state Influenza A management and control meeting here today.
In Johor, two babies aged nine months were among nine children who were confirmed infected with Influenza A and receiving treatment at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA), Johor Bahru, over the last few days.
Chairman of the Johor Education, Health and Human Resource Committee, Aminolhuda Hassan said this is a drop in the number of cases compared to the 13 children being treated at the hospital yesterday.
Aminolhuda said there were eight other adult victims who were confirmed for the disease and receiving follow-up treatment.
Influenza is an infection which causes fever, colds, sore throat, coughing, headaches, body aches and fatigue.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had previously said that the influenza vaccine offered in government hospitals was only for patients in the high-risk category such as those with chronic diseases and those with low immunity.
Members of the public who want to get the influenza vaccine injection can do so at private health facilities.
The Education Ministry said in a statement it would take steps to control the spread of the disease including separating students with signs of infection before contacting their parents to get immediate treatment at clinics or hospitals.
At the same time, students are also advised to observe a high level of personal hygiene by washing their hands frequently with clean water and soap or a hand sanitizer, practising good coughing etiquette and a healthy way of life. — Bernama