KOTA BARU: Anyone having flu-like symptoms must seek immediate treatment following the detection of the H5N1 avian flu virus in a village near here.
Confirming that no one has been infected with the highly pathogenic virus as of Thursday evening, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said those with such symptoms or respiratory infection must seek treatment at once.
“This is especially if they have had contact with dead birds or fowl,” he added.
Among the symptoms are a fever exceeding 38°C, sore throat, cough, headache, muscle aches, joint pain and lethargy.
“A directive has been issued to all health facilities to be on high alert for influenza-like illnesses and respiratory infections to enable early detection,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“Health personnel have also been told to strictly observe infection control procedures,” Dr Noor Hisham added.
Five samples from fowl carcasses found in Kampung Pulau Tebu tested positive for H5N1 on Monday.
He also advised those involved in the slaughtering, processing and selling of poultry to observe proper handling practices.
“They should wear masks covering the mouth and nose, besides wearing gloves, apron and waterproof rubber boots. They must wash their hands with soap and clean water,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said the prevention and control measures were in accordance with the Avian Influenza Management Guidelines drawn up in 2004.
He said they were checking areas within a 300m radius of Kampung Pulau Tebu for H5N1.
As of Thursday, health authorities have examined 235 villagers in 58 households, as well as 21 health and 45 veterinary personnel.
“Seven showed symptoms and were kept isolated at a hospital nearby.
“Six veterinary department laboratory personnel, isolated at Tumpat Hospital on Sunday after showing mild symptoms, tested negative and were discharged on Monday,” said Dr Noor Hisham.