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Published: Sunday May 17, 2009 MYT 10:23:00 AM
Updated: Monday May 18, 2009 MYT 12:42:06 PM

A (H1N1): Flight MH091 passenger quarantined after developing fever (Update 3)

JOHOR BARU: A woman passenger of flight MH091 was quarantined at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) here Sunday afternoon after she developed a fever.

Johor Health department director Dr Mohd Khairi Yaakob said clinical test had been carried out on the woman to determine whether she was infected with the HIN1 virus.

"We are still waiting for the result," he said, declining to disclose any further information.

The woman had been on home quarantine with three other passengers, two men and a woman, here since Friday.

Malaysia recorded its first H1N1 case when a 21-year-old student who flew on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH091 from Newark, New Jersey, to KLIA via Sweden on May 13 was found to have contracted the virus. Meanwhile, a Thai national, who was quarantined at the HSA Saturday has been released as his test results came back negative.

Two other foreigners, who were vacationing at one of the islands in the state, have been quarantined at their hotel since Saturday.

Dr Mohd Khairi said they had yet to show any symptom of the virus but the health department would be monitoring them closely. Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines has located and grounded its crew members who were on the same flight from United States as the student who contracted influenza A (H1N1).

MAS director of operations Datuk Tajuden Abu Bakar said the 15 crew members on the plane were taken off the roster for a seven-day home quarantine as a precautionary measure.

The 21-year-old student flew on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH091 from Newark, New Jersey, to KLIA via Sweden. "Malaysia Airlines confirms that Flight MH091 from Newark, arriving at KLIA on May 13 at 7.15am, was on transit at Arlanda, Stockholm, where 80 passengers disembarked.

"From Arlanda, 199 people, including 184 passengers and 15 crew members, arrived in Kuala Lumpur," he said.

He said the national carrier has since been in contact with Swedish authorities to provide them with the passenger list for monitoring purposes.

He said the ministry had also earlier advised passengers who disembarked from the flight in Kuala Lumpur to call the ministry at 0388810200 or 0388810300; or go to any hospital, clinic or health office for followup action.

MAS also clarified that none of its pilots were warded as reported Saturday, Bernama said.

Meanwhile, the five crew members of AirAsia who were on the same flight as the second confirmed influenza A (H1N1) case have been located and grounded.

An AirAsia spokesperson said the crew members on flight AK5358 that flew from the low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang to Penang on May 13 have been taken off duty and quarantined.

“The crew were taken off duty Saturday and are quarantined in Kuala Lumpur,” he said when contacted.

The second patient - a 21-year-old female student in the United States - boarded the flight to Penang after arriving at the KL International Airport on Wednesday.

She was on board the same flight as the first patient, who travelled on Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 from Newark, which arrived on May 13 at 7.15am.

“We are working closely with the Health Ministry to contact the passengers on the list. We will do everything that is needed to assist the ministry,” he said.

In Penang, state AirAsia station head (sic) Kenneth Tan said the airline’s headquarters would provide the necessary information to the Health Ministry in tracking down the passengers.

“We will give full co-operation to the ministry,” he said when contacted here Sunday.

Meanwhile, in PUTRAJAYA, Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat said earlier that all 101 passengers on the AirAsia flight concerned would be put under home quarantine immediately.

Dr Ramlee said all the passengers were believed to be Malaysians and the relevant state health departments had been given a list of names to locate.

He said those on the flight must call the Health Ministry at 03-88810200/0300 or their respective state health deparments and go to the nearest hospital if they displayed any flu symptom.

“Ministry officers will visit those under home quarantine twice daily,” he told a press conference on Sunday.

He added that the two individuals who were confirmed with the influenza A (H1N1) virus were in stable condition.

“The first case still has a slight fever while the second person does not have fever anymore,” he added.

“All family members are healthy but still under home quarantine.”

On the Malaysia Airlines flight, MH091 from Newark which the two persons were on, Dr Ramlee said the ministry had found 95 of the 119 passengers who had landed in Malaysia.

The passengers comprising, 80 Malaysians and 15 foreigners, had been put under home quarantine.

He added the ministry was still trying to locate the one remaining Malaysian and 23 foreigners.

“The 15 crew members from MH091 are under home quarantine and are healthy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported from Port Klang, that the port workers were concerned over the lack of protective measures against the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

According to Union of Employees of Port Ancillary Services Supplies (UNEPASs) secretary, A. Balasubramaniam, thousands of port workers, who were front liners in serving incoming ships from all over the world had not been given adequate protection.

The Health Ministry, he claimed was concentrating more on the airports and other entry points and had given low priority to ports.

"There are no screening machines or stringent health checks at the ports. So, workers and ship crew are coming in contact with each other without proper screening.

"This is causing much concern to the port community now that Malaysia already has confirmed positive cases of influenza A (H1N1)," he told Bernama here Sunday.

Balasubramaniam, who is also MTUC Vice-President, called on the Health Ministry to give due cognizance to the health and welfare of port workers, and suggested that the ministry provide proper guideline and information on how port workers should protect themselves from the virus.

He said the Port Authorities and Health Department needed to conduct intensive campaigns among port workers to increase awareness on the disease and other communicable diseases that could be brought into the country by the foreign ship crew members.

The Associated Press reported from Tokyo that Japan's health ministry said four more cases of the influenza A (H1N1) had been confirmed in addition to 16 announced hours earlier. The country's tally is now at 25.

The Health and Welfare Ministry said the 20 announced Sunday are teenagers at several high schools in the western prefectures of Hyogo and Osaka.

The ministry says the patients all tested positive for the H1N1 virus the day before and are recovering at local hospitals.

Japan on Saturday confirmed its first domestic case of swine flu. Japan's first four cases were contracted outside the country.

Meanwhile, China’s Health Ministry says an 18-year-old student in Beijing who recently returned from studies at a university in the United States is the mainland’s third confirmed case of the A (H1N1) flu virus.

The ministry says the woman returned to the city May 11 on a Continental Airlines flight and went to a hospital three days later when she was feeling unwell. It was there she was diagnosed as a suspected case of the flu.

The diagnosis was confirmed Saturday. The ministry said those who had close contact with the woman have been placed under observation.

On the national front, Bernama reports that some 70% of over 700 pig farms nationwide have been inspected to ensure they are free of influenza A (H1N1).

Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom said that checks on a total of 22,780 samples taken from 529 registered and 93 traditional farms showed that they are free of the A (H1N1) virus.

“Twenty two farms are found to be facing serious problems but they are not related to influenza A (H1N1).

“The public should not be unduly worried because cases detected in the country are due to infection from outside and not from within,” he told reporters after the simultaneous opening of Umno branch meetings in Kubang Pasu on Saturday.

He said inspections on the remaining pig farms would be completed in a week.

The ministry had previously announced a ban on the import of pork as part of the measures to keep the virus at bay.

The Health Ministry has confirmed two cases of influenza A (H1N1), involving students returning from overseas.

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