16 August, 2009

Malaysia: A(H1N1) - Three more deaths !

A six-year-old child with Down's Syndrome and a hole in the heart is the latest of three deaths resulting from complications due to influenza A (H1N1).

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the child who died on Thursday of "pneumonia with underlying Down's Syndrome and Pulmonary Hypertension" was admitted to the hospital on Aug 9 after suffering for two days of H1N1 symptoms.

He said another three-year-old also succumbed to H1N1 complications after being admitted to the hospital on Aug 1 for fever and cough and suffering breathing difficulties for five days.

"The child died on Friday due to severe pneumonia," he told reporters after launching the Serdang Lifelong Health Carnival at SRJK (C) Serdang Baru 1 here.

Liow said the third death was a 50-year-old man who died on Friday after he was warded on Aug 3 due to fever, diarrhea, vomiting and breathing difficulty.

He said the man died of "septicemia with severe pneumonia".

He said the three deaths raised the H1N1 death toll in the country to 62, while 238 new cases brought the number of H1N1 infections to 3,857 cases, so far.

Liow said to date, 213 patients were being treated at the normal wards while 33 more were at the Intensive Care Unit, 16 of whom had risk factors such as chronic illnesses (7), asthma (3), obesity (2), mental illness (2), pregnancy (1) and post-delivery (1).

He said the Health Ministry found many of those infected with H1N1 did not cooperate well in controlling the pandemic.

He reminded the public to promptly seek treatment at nearby clinics or hospitals if they had H1N1 symptoms and reminded doctors to not postpone antiviral treatments to patients.

He said under Section 12 (1) of the Infectious Diseases Control Act 1988, anyone who knows of a disease that can spread to the public and purposely ignore quarantine warnings and infect others will be fined RM2,000 or a maximum penalty of RM10,000 or two years of imprisonment or both.

Meanwhile, patients who seek treatment at Sungai Buloh Hospital here for influenza-like symptoms have to wait for up to three hours or more.

Normah Sabdani, who took her three daughters aged 1 to 8 for a H1N1 check-up yesterday morning, was upset about the long wait.

Her daughters have been coughing for the past two weeks.

"There is a sign which says children below 2 years old and senior citizens will be given priority, but we have been waiting for three hours.

"The hospital should have opened more counters to check the patients," said the 27-year-old when met at the H1N1 check-up designated area near the emergency unit.

Patients who were there since early morning seemed ill and dozed off while waiting for their names to be called.

Checks at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Tawakal Hospital found that no tests were conducted on those who wanted to check for the virus.

The staff at both hospitals said they would direct patients to government hospitals if they came for the H1N1 treatment.

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