PUTRAJAYA: Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam has told the media to have a clear understanding of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and not cause unnecessary panic.
He said the media must know their facts before releasing any EVD-related information.
“The Ebola virus is not easily contracted by someone sitting in the office or plane,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
He said they must have intimate contact with bodily fluids of those infected before they could be infected.
Dr Subramaniam said people at high risk were those in direct contact with some species of monkey and bats infected with EVD or those in direct contact with people infected such as health workers.
Asked what was the Ministry’s stand on the issue after The Guardian reported that soldiers had moved in to quarantine those in remote areas exposed to the Ebola virus, he said measures taken here currently were adequate.
“The Ministry will go by the travel advisory issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and currently there is none,” he said.
So far, there are no EVD cases reported to the ministry.
Dr Subramaniam said the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre had monitored the situation in Malaysia and had deemed the risk still low in the country since the spread was confined mainly in West Africa.
“If there is an import case detected here, the Ministry is ready to act quickly to control the spread,” he said.
He added that all main and district hospitals with intensive care units were on standby in case of any EVD cases.
Dr Subramaniam said the WHO should increase efforts in the countries affected.
The WHO reported that from March to Aug 4, 1,603 new cases of EVD (laboratory-confirmed, probable and suspect cases) and 887 deaths were reported in West Africa, including countries like Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
On the two-month deadline for the National Committee on Dengue to bring down the cases, he said there had been a slight drop but it could be due to the Hari Raya holidays where many people had left Selangor and Kuala Lumpur for their hometowns.