One of the many pig farms which are located close to SK Kampung Selamat
GEORGE TOWN: The 12-year-old boy from Tasek Gelugor who was admitted to a private hospital here for observation is confirmed to be suffering from Japanese Encephalitis (JE).
Penang Health Department director Datuk Dr Lailanor Ibrahim, when contacted, confirmed the matter and said the boy, who is in a coma, was in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
“We have received his medical report and a test on the boy’s spinal fluid carried out by the hospital found that it was JE positive,” he said.
On Sunday, a local television station reported that the boy, from Sekolah Kebangsaan SK Kampung Selamat, was in critical condition and had fallen into a coma.
He was reported to have had high fever since May 18 and was treated at the Kepala Batas Hospital before being transferred to the private hospital.
Dr Lailanor said the department would follow the standard operating procedure set by the Health Ministry in carrying out further investigation into the case.
“We will run a thorough investigation, including carrying out interviews and health examinations on the patient’s family members and friends as well as by going to his school to find out how he could have been infected with the JE virus,” he said.
The JE virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Culex mosquitoes.
Dr Lailanor said a special committee had been set up to conduct the investigation and prepare a complete report on the case, which would be submitted to the Health Ministry.
State Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said the Penang Veterinary Services Department had inspected and taken samples from pig farms in Kampung Selamat for testing.
“As a preliminary measure, we will fog the area and further investigation will be carried out to ascertain whether or not the patient was infected by the JE virus from the farms.
“The state government will take further action after receiving the report from both the Health Department and the Veterinary Department,” he said.
SK Kampung Selamat headmistress Hawa Mat Yazid, when approached, expressed the hope that the relevant authorities would act immediately to monitor the disease as the school was located only two kilometres away from pig farms.
She said that apart from SK Kampung Selamat, several other schools were located in the vicinity of the farms.
She also said that the school had set up a special fund to help the pupil. – Bernama