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Sunday June 21, 2009

11 year-old girl among new A(H1N1) cases

PUTRAJAYA: An 11-year-old girl from a Chinese vernacular school in Kuala Lumpur is among seven new confirmed Influenza A (H1N1) cases, bringing the total number to 42.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the pupil had gone to Melbourne on holiday with her family during the school break and travelled with her grandmother who also contracted the flu.

She returned on AirAsia X flight D7 2723 at 7am on Tuesday via the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal and went to school the next day.

“On the second day of school, she developed a fever and was sent to hospital. It was confirmed last night (Friday) that she was infected,” Liow told a press conference after launching the 10,000 Steps Healthy Lifestyle Campaign during the ministry’s Family Day here yesterday.

He said that as of Friday night, the girl’s 46 classmates were placed under home quarantine.

There was no need for parents and teachers to panic, he said, as this was still an “imported” case.

If a locally-transmitted case was reported at the school, Liow said the ministry would order the National Security Council to close the school and initiate “cleaning” activities.

Any closure of schools because of Influenza A (H1N1) cases is to last seven days, which is the period set for home quarantine.

“I have also told the Health director-general to meet with the Education director-general to look into measures that we can introduce, including screening at schools to detect cases earlier,” he said.

Liow called on state governments to check with the Health Ministry before making any announcements on any new cases or ideally, leave it to the ministry to make public such information.

“Our worry is that if there are quarters giving information on cases confirmed after our cut-off time, newspapers will carry varying figures and this will create confusion among the public,” he said.

On the 10,000 Steps Healthy Lifestyle Campaign, Liow said the ministry started the campaign after looking at the worrying trend of rising lifestyle-related diseases in the country.

“I also urge office workers to get off the lift two floors below their office level when they go to work and walk up the stairs,” he said.

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