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M’sia to be free of local H1N1 transmission on 20 May

PUTRAJAYA, 18 May 2009: Malaysia can be declared free of local transmission of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus in two days if there are no local cases detected during the period, Deputy Health Director-General Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat said.

He said the calculation was based on the virus’ incubation period, which is seven days from the day the first case was detected on 13 May.

“So far there are no signs of the virus spreading locally,” he said, adding that the two cases detected so far involved people returning from overseas.  

“After 20 May, we can declare that Malaysia is free of local transmission of the virus,” he told reporters, here today.

Ramlee said the country, however, could not declare yet that it was free of the virus because infection could still occur on people returning to the country from overseas.

Ramlee said a total of 111 people had been admitted to isolation wards in hospitals but all were tested negative, except in two cases involving a male student and his friend who were returning from overseas on Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 on 13 May.

Three passengers who were on the same flight, who were admitted to isolation wards in Johor Baru and Kuching after they developed fever, also tested negative for the virus, he said.

On the two patients who contracted the virus, Ramlee said they were recovering well and that their families, who were under quarantine, were also healthy.

The first one is recovering in the Sungai Buloh Hospital and X-ray tests showed a normal result while the second one, who is undergoing treatment in the Penang Hospital, has recovered from the fever, he said.

Asked when they could be discharged, Ramlee said it could take up to six days from the day they were admitted to hospital, depending on their conditions.

Ramlee said the authorities were still tracing 17 passengers of flight MH091.

On the AirAsia flight AK5358, he said the ministry managed to trace 33 passengers and four flight crew and was still tracing 69 others.

A woman, who is one of the two patients confirmed to have contracted the H1N1 virus, had boarded the flight from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal to Penang.

Ramlee urged the passengers involved to contact the ministry at telephone number 03-8881 0200 or 8881 0300.

He said that as of this morning, the World Health Organisation confirmed Ecuador to be the latest country affected by the epidemic, raising the number of countries affected by the problem to 39.

There are 8,735 cases detected worldwide with 74 deaths.

Asked about an AirAsia passenger who fainted during the flight from Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur, Ramlee said it had nothing to do with the Influenza A (H1N1) virus. — Bernama

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