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31 tested for H1N1 after seven confirmed having virus

Published on: Friday, February 07, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Thirty-one people were subjected to Influenza A H1N1 screen tests at the Melur 2 ward of the Women and Children Hospital, in Likas, after the virus was detected there Monday.

Seven of them, comprising five children and two adults, were later confirmed to be infected by the virus. Ten Nasopharyngeal Aspirate Respiratory Syncytial Virus (NPA RSV) samples were collected for confirmation tests.

State Health Director, Dr Christina Rundi, who confirmed this, said the seven who showed symptoms like coughing, fever and flu have been given treatment and are in stable condition.

The department had actually received a report on the H1N1 outbreak at the said ward on Feb. 3, she said, adding a control operations room was set up and activated the following day.

She said the health officers have provided to all the positive H1N1 patients an anti-virus treatment, adding none of the rest who were found negative to H1N1 were being quarantined and that they are just monitored if they have any related symptom.

Apart from that, she said they have also screened all those people who have been exposed to the virus and conducted disinfection process on the ward involved.

"The infection control management has also been further improved through limiting the number visitors to the ward involved as well as screening on all the hospital staff.

Staff who are ill are also not allowed to come to work," she said, in a statement, Thursday in response to rumours on the outbreak which have went viral in the Internet social media network.

H1N1 is an infection disease on the respiratory system caused by Influenza A H1N1 virus and it has symptoms like seasonal flu (ILI) which include headache, cough, sore throat and others like flu, body ache, headache, cold and fatigue.

There are those infected by the virus who experience diarrhoea and vomiting, she said, adding the incubation period is one to seven days. This virus spreads when the patient coughs or sneezes and a person can be infected either through breathing, touching the patient's hand or surfaces infected by the patient'a saliva.

Dr Christina said the department has also conducted campaigns to promote coughing ethic and awareness on the importance of getting treatment early when experiencing influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms, apart from supplying face masks to the H1N1 patients, staff and visitors at the ward involved.

Also on the importance of washing hands before and after touching patients to maintain hygiene, she said, while explaining the control measures they did included detecting cases, treatment, infection control as well as health education and counselling.

"The H1N1 situation at this hospital is under control with the control and prevention measures currently being implemented," she said, adding it is endemic to Sabah and related cases are reported annually.

Dr Christina revealed that eight positive H1N1 cases have actually been reported in Sabah until Feb. 6 this year, with an incidence rate of 0.24 per 100,000 total population.

Seven of the cases were reported in Kota Kinabalu and one in Sandakan.

Last year, she said, six such cases were reported with an incidence rate of 0.16 per 100,000 population while in 2012, 15 cases with incidence rate of 0.46 per 100,000 population.

In 2011, there were 26 cases recorded with incidence rate of 0.79 per 100,000 population and 145 cases with incidence rate of 4.43 per 100,000 population in 2010.

In 2009, there were 944 H1N1 cases reported throughout the State with an incidence rate of 30.81 per 100,000 population.