A FOUR-YEAR-OLD girl has become the first victim in Perak to be afflicted with diphtheria after she was diagnosed with the disease last Thursday.
The girl from Taiping had mild symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat without any complications as she had received the full course of immunisation prior to this.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said she fell sick on August 12 and was admitted to the Taiping Hospital five days later.
“She was confirmed by the state Health Department as having tested positive for the Corynebacterium diphtheria bacteria.
“She is being treated with antibiotics and recovering,” he said in a statement on the Health Ministry’s website.
He also said two of the 38 people whom the girl had come into contact with at the KEMAS pre-school she attends had been coughing slightly and quarantined at home voluntarily by their respective families.
Noting that the health authorities were monitoring their situation, Dr Noor Hisham said it was also awaiting results of throat swab samples taken from the two.
“A pupil who has not received the full set of vaccination has been referred to the local health clinic,” he added.
On the girl’s family front, Dr Noor Hisham said her seven family members are in good health, having shown no signs of having the same symptoms and given preventive treatment.
“The girl’s three siblings have received complete immunisations against diphtheria as well, while the immunisation status of the other four, including their parents, are still being investigated.
“Families who live near the girl’s family are also reported to be healthy and have been given the same preventive treatment as well,” he said, adding that a total of 23 samples of throat swabs were taken from all of them.
The department will continue to monitor the situation of all contacts, he said.
As of Saturday, the number of confirmed diphtheria cases in Malaysia had risen to 28, including five deaths, which are nine cases with one death in Kedah; seven cases and no deaths in Negri Sembilan; five cases with three deaths in Sabah; three cases with one death in Malacca; two cases and no deaths in Penang; Selangor and Perak with one case reported each and no deaths.
The Health Ministry continues to urge parents to ensure their children below the age of seven are given proper and complete immunisation against diphtheria, as it is able to prevent infections as well as other complications.