Monday, May 25, 2009

Malaysia confirm first case of H1N1

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's top health official Friday confirmed the country's first case of Influenza A (H1N1) amid fears that some of those exposed to the infected patient could have gone on to Indonesia.

"I can confirm (that it) is the first case in Malaysia," health ministry director general Ismail Merican told AFP.

Acting health minister Kong Cho Ha, who addressed a hastily-convened press conference later, said the patient was a 21-year-old male student who arrived on a flight from the United States on May 13, giving no further details on his identity.

He said the patient came down with fever, sore throat and body aches the next day and was admitted to the Sungai Buloh quarantine facility in central Selangor state on the same evening and is now in stable condition.

He said five family members who live with the patient have been placed under home quarantine in order to monitor their condition.

The government has urged all passengers who travelled on Malaysian Airlines flight MH091 from Newark in the United States to Kuala Lumpur, that landed at 7.15am on May 13 to contact the ministry for further instructions.

"No passengers have been quarantined, we are still trying to trace them," Kong said of the 199 passengers and crew onboard the flight. "We will segregate them (when located). If they have no signs (of the disease) they can go after a certain number of days," he added.

However, he said there was a fear that some of those exposed to the infected patient may have gone on to Indonesia.

"We mention Indonesia because that flight is a code share with (Indonesian carrier) Garuda so the assumption is that there could be some passengers going to Indonesia," he added.

Officials could not immediately confirm how many Indonesians were on board nor if any passengers continued onto Indonesia.

Kong said Malaysia's alert level would remain the same despite its first confirmed H1N1 flu case as the country was already at its highest state of preparedness since the World Health Organisation raised its flu alert to phase five out of six.

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