No confirmed cases of killer flu, says Health Ministry

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 22 Mar 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has clarified that there had been no confirmed cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Malaysia and that hospitals and health offices were on standby for any eventualities. 

Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohamad Taha Arif said the ministry had provided information to government and private hospitals so they would co-operate if the need arose. 

“We have nothing to hide and would keep the press notified with statements if there were confirmed cases,” he said yesterday, adding that tourists had also been given pamphlets at airports, telling them to consult a doctor if they had flu-like symptoms. 

Dr Mohd Taha added that two days ago, the ministry was alerted by private hospitals of suspected cases. 

“We went to investigate the reports but there was no confirmed case under the category that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified as probable SARS,''he told reporters before a meeting with the Patient Safety Council Malaysia at the Health Ministry. 

On whether the virus identified as a member of the paramyxoviridae family – the family of microbes that causes measles, mumps and canine distemper – was linked to the Nipah virus, Dr Mohd Taha said it was unlikely. 

“It has nothing to do with the Nipah virus and WHO has not asked us for assistance so far,” he said, adding that world body would be in a better position to identify the virus since they had laboratory personnel in the affected countries. 

He added that in fact, the WHO representative here praised Malaysia as a model country in its preparedness to counter health problems.  

Earlier, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng told the press to publish accurate reports on the virus as there were consequences in carrying inaccurate articles.  

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