Thursday August 6, 2009
Five more deaths bring H1N1 toll to 13
Reports by STEPHEN THEN, LOH FOON FONG, EMBUN MAJID, MARTIN CARVALHO, MANJIT KAUR, CLARA CHOOI, FARIK ZOLKEPLI, GLADYS TAY, LESTER KONG and
KUALA LUMPUR: The deaths of five people within 72 hours have brought the number of the influenza A (H1N1)-related fatalities to 13.
The latest case involved Mohd Hyafiq Afendi, six, from Pahang. He died at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital at 12.40pm after suffering from pneumonia.
The boy was admitted to the hospital on Aug 1 after developing fever and complaining of stomach ache.
Of the other four victims, three were in Malacca and one in Batu Pahat. The Malacca girl was the youngest, aged three.
All five victims were suffering from chronic respiratory problems when they contracted the virus.
“In Malacca, the girl and a 20-year-old man suffered from chronic lung diseases, while a 12- year-old boy had serious kidney failure before he was infected by the H1N1 virus,” Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said in a press conference in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, yesterday.
In Johor Baru, a six-year-old boy became the 12th H1N1-related victim.
The boy was suffering from pneumonia and he died in the Batu Pahat Hospital here yesterday, said state Health department director Dr Mohd Khairi Yaakub.
Liow was in Brunei with six other Cabinet ministers accompanying Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak for the annual consultative meeting with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
He said there were 16 new cases yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,426.
Commenting on the worsening haze condition, Liow said it complicated “an already very difficult situation”.
“Polluted air can result in an increase of respiratory ailments - a situation which will cause the victims to be more vulnerable in the event of a fatal H1N1 virus attack.
“The H1N1 virus attacks the lung-cells directly. It then causes serious pneumonia. Those with respiratory ailments have weaker immune systems and the attack can be more serious,” he said.
Malaysia and Brunei, added Liow, have agreed to increase joint efforts to tackle the spread of the flu.
He said Brunei was very stringent in the precautionary measures adopted, especially the health screenings and surveillance along its border checkpoints.