Anti-viral drug stocks running low, says Liow

KUALA LUMPUR, August 1 — Nineteen new Influenza A (H1N1) cases were reported today, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,390.

All the new cases involved Malaysians.

Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said of the total new cases, 14 were from three new clusters and five from two existing clusters.

He also said that of the total H1N1 cases reported in the country so far, 574 (41 per cent) were imported cases and 816 of them were local transmissions.

“Of the total cases, 1,362 or 98 per cent have recovered, only 17 still receiving anti-viral treatment in hospitals. Eight of them are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while 11 people given anti-viral treatment at home,” he said in a statement here today.

Globally, 182,886 Influenza A(H1N1) cases with 1,206 deaths were reported in 165 countries until today.

Dr Mohd Ismail said there was no new confirmed Influenza A(H1N1) admitted to the ICU today and that one of the nine cases admitted to the ICU yesterday had been transferred to an isolation ward.

The remaining eight cases in the ICU included two obese persons, a pregnant woman and one with low immunity, he added.

In a related development, he advised institutions of higher learning in the country to immediately report to the Health Ministry if there were cluster cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) among their students.

He said students having ILI when they went to register should be asked to go home and told to return when they had recovered.

Influenza A (H1N1) screening would be conducted if there were moderate and serious infections, complications or risks, like obese and asthmatic, and they would have to be referred to hospital, he added.

He was clarifying on a statement for the ministry’s matriculation students to go for the Influenza A (H1N1) screening, if they have symptoms of flu, before going to the colleges to register.

Meanwhile in Penang, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said hospitals would source for more Tamilflu and Relenza, the two main anti-viral drugs used in treating Influenza A (H1N1), following a steady rise of daily reported cases.

“The current stockpile of ten per cent is not enough looking at the fast spread rate of the contagious disease. We need to order the drugs from the World Health Organisation (WHO) now to ensure there is enough supply at all times,” he told reporters after attending the Penang MCA convention today.

He said Ministry would order for 200,000 doses of anti-A(H1N1) flu vaccine and expected to get them by the end of the year.

He also said that an inter-ministerial meeting on H1N1 would be held on Tuesday.

“The meeting will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and all state governments are expected to attend the meeting,” he added. – Bernama


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