KOTA KINABALU: Sabah health officials are scrambling after they detected an outbreak of H1N1 flu virus at the Likas Women’s and Children’s hospital.
Hospital director Dr Tan Bee Hwai said five children and two adult caregivers had been tested positive for the flu virus.
As a result, the entire ward at the hospital located some 10kms from downtown Kota Kinabalu has been quarantined.
“This includes the patients, the caregivers and staff of the ward,” he said when contacted by The Star on Thursday.
“Our priority for now is stopping the transmission that includes quarantining the ward concerned as well as getting everyone to practice personal hygiene including things like washing hands frequently apart from using face masks,” Dr Tan added.
He said medical officials were also trying to track down the source of the H1N1 outbreak.
Dr Tan said doctors and staff were also better prepared in handling the situation following an earlier H1N1 outbreak at the hospital in 2009.
"We have the necessary measures and medications place in tackling this outbreak,” he added.
Sabah Health Department director Dr Christina Rundi could not be reached for comment.
It is understood that screening of patients, their parents or caregivers and staff at the hospital began two days ago.
Though medical officials have not stated when the outbreak occurred, staff who had been working since Jan 8 had been asked to undergo the screening.
The highly contagious H1N1 virus was responsible for the global flu pandemic in 2009.
Similar to other flu strains, H1N1 is an infectious respiratory virus that can begin in the nose, throat, or lungs.