KANGAR: National Service Training Department (JLKN) has not received an order from Kedah Health Department to close down the Dusun Minda Resort National Service Camp in Kuala Nerang following the H1N1 outbreak.
ALOR SETAR : Four National Service (NS) trainees from the Dusun Minda Resort in Kuala Nerang have tested positive for the H1N1 virus.
NS Department director Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil confirmed the report and said the camp had taken measures to ensure that the virus does not spread.
“Affected trainees are being quarantined in a separate dormitory, away from the camp,” said Abdul Hadi when contacted by The Star.
He said the camp’s medical personnel were informed that the trainees were affected by the virus at 3pm Sunday.
It was reported in The Star Saturday that 52 trainees from the camp had been quarantined due to fever.
Abdul Hadi said the number of those in quarantine had since increased to 54.
“We have contacted the state health department and they will be sending a team of medical personnel to the camp,” he said.
Abdul Hadi said camp officers would abide by instructions given by the medical personnel, and that programmes and activities for unaffected trainees would continue as normal.
H1N1 influenza has claimed 18 lives in Thailand since re-emerging in the country early this year, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
Influenza Foundation (Thailand) president Emeritus Prof Dr Prasert Thongjaroen on Friday said most H1N1 death cases in the country involved patients aged between 25 to 40 years old who sought late treatment.
Dr Prasert said that unlike in overseas developments, a laboratory follow-up had not detected any mutation of the H1N1 flu strain in Thailand and existing treatment is effective.
SINGAPORE – Two employees at Citibank Singapore have been diagnosed with the influenza A (H1N1) virus, Lianhe Wanbao reported on Wednesday night. Another 8 employees are suspected to have contracted the virus as well, the Chinese daily said.
Influenza is generally a mild illness that usually results in full recovery, though sometimes complications such as pneumonia may occur.
There are three seasonal influenza strains that circulate year-round in Singapore – influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B. These strains are also circulating throughout the world, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
“The public should not be alarmed,” a MOH spokesperson said.
MOH added that an annual influenza vaccination is recommended to protect against influenza, particularly for children aged six months to five years, adults aged 65 years and older, and individuals with chronic illnesses.
“To minimise the spread of influenza, members of the public should practise good personal hygiene and social responsibility. Persons who are ill should also stay home from work/school and avoid crowded places when sick.
“Individuals are urged to maintain good personal hygiene at all times to prevent the spread of respiratory infections: Washing hands with soap or alcohol-based hand cleaner when the hands have come into contact with saliva or nose drainage (e.g. after they have sneezed or coughed onto their hands). Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throwing the tissue away into a bin immediately. Cleaning frequently touched surfaces at least daily and when visibly soiled by saliva or nose drainage,” MOH said in an advisory.
In October last year, the media reported on a cluster of influenza cases at a childcare centre in Pasir Ris. Eight children attending the Aces Montessori Kidz (Downtown East) were down with the flu and another 10 children had flu-like symptoms.
Two children were kept under observation for two days. The other 16 either self-medicated or received outpatient treatment, MOH said. It was not revealed which strain of influenza they had been infected with.
KUALA LUMPUR: A civilian staff of the Kedah police headquarters died of complications from thyroid disease and not Influenza A H1N1, said deputy director-general of health Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran.He said this was confirmed after a review by a specialist from the Health Ministry of the medical record in the private hospital where the 48-year-old woman had undergone treatment. She died at 11.10am yesterday after a meeting of police civilian staff with the inspector-general of police in Malacca last Thursday. Bernama
This photo taken on March 14, 2013 shows pigs on a truck heading to market in Jiaxing in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. (AFP/Peter PARKS)
PARIS: Scientists said Wednesday that flu infections were rising among pigs raised for slaughter on farms in south and southeastern China, also plagued by bird flu.
And the risk of spillover to humans was “constant or growing”, according to one of the authors of a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Pigs are an important source of new human strains of influenza A, such as the 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic that emerged in Mexico and infected an estimated fifth of the world’s population.
Pigs can act as a “mixing vessel” in a process known as reassortment, brewing new flu strains from swine, poultry and human viruses in areas where they live in close proximity.
Such new hybrids can be deadly — tens of millions of people died in flu pandemics in 1918, 1957 and 1968.
Luckily, the 2009 strain was about as lethal as the ordinary seasonal flu, though highly infectious.
China is currently in the grips of a deadly H7N9 bird flu virus that has killed 27 people since March, mainly in the country’s east — overlapping with the study area.
H7N9 has not been traced to pigs and has not been shown to jump from person to person, but is being closely watched for genetic changes that may make this possible.
An article in the science journal Nature last month highlighted that H7N9 seems to be circulating in areas of China that have large populations of pigs and humans “providing opportunities for further adaptation to mammals and for reassortment with human- or pig-adapted viruses”.
For the new study, an international team of disease experts analysed data collected at an abattoir in Hong Kong over a 12-year period from 1998 to 2010, to learn more about the spread of flu among pigs.
Such information may be useful to prevent future pandemic jumps from animals to humans.
The team analysed the results of tests for virus infection at time of slaughter, as well as tests for antibodies which would indicate the pig had previously been infected and was now immune.
They observed a drop in positive virus tests by the time the pigs reached the abattoir but, worryingly, concluded this did not mean there was less infection.
“Instead, it reflects higher rates of influenza circulation on the farms where pigs are raised, so that they have already been infected (and so they’re immune) by the time they’re going to slaughter,” co-author James Lloyd-Smith of the University of California in Los Angeles told AFP by email.
The conclusion was derived from a corresponding rise in positive antibody tests.
“The prevalence of infection in swine has not decreased and so the risk of spillover to humans or birds is constant or growing,” added Lloyd-Smith.
China is a priority for flu surveillance given the high densities of humans, swine and fowl in the region, the team wrote.
“Currently, China produces and consumes almost 50 percent of the world’s pork, requiring an enormous swine population.”
The authors stressed their findings did not mean that flu was more prevalent in pigs in China than in other countries for which data mostly did not exist.
The Chinese data was a rare example of long-term, systematic surveillance of influenza in swine, and should be commended, they said.
But important lessons can be extrapolated for application worldwide — mainly to boost surveillance.
A case in point — the team said elements of the H1N1 pandemic strain had been circulating undetected in swine for more than 10 years before the 2009 outbreak started in Mexico.
Keeping an eye on influenza spread among pigs could “help us to avoid such nasty surprises in the future,” said Lloyd-Smith.
Last week, a study in the journal Science showed it was possible for H1N1 to swap genes with H5N1 bird flu, which is deadly for humans but not transmissible from person to person, to create a hybrid that can spread in the air between mammals — in that case guinea pigs.