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Sunday April 26, 2009

Malaysia on alert after deadly flu hits Mexico

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has joined several Asian countries in activating alert measures to prevent a deadly swine flu outbreak in Mexico from spreading here.

Health screenings had been imposed on passengers travelling to and from Mexico since April 17, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

“We are taking a cautious stance and I have directed for screenings and checks to be done at all entry points,” he said when contacted yesterday.

He added the measures were precautionary although the World Health Organisation (WHO) had yet to issue an international alert.

“If WHO issues an alert, we are fully prepared to implement the necessary measures fast,” he said.

The authorities in Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand are stepping up their health surveillance after 62 people in Mexico died from flu-like illness.

Some of the illnesses, according to the Associated Press, had been confirmed as a type of swine flu labelled A/H1N1 - not previously seen in pigs and humans.

The swine flu virus, which WHO claimed appeared to be able to spread from human to human, had caused alarm in Mexico with more than 1,000 people having fallen ill.

The Mexican government closed many public areas, including schools, in a bid to contain the outbreak.

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