KUALA LUMPUR: Hospitals in the country have reported 135 admissions since the SARS virus was first reported in mid-March, of which 40 have been deemed suspected cases and three other probable cases. There has so far been only one death.
Twenty-seven patients are still warded and are reported to be well and in stable condition.
As at yesterday, four new cases were reported – two in Kuala Lumpur and one each in Kelantan and Perak.
Stating this, Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican said most of the patients had visited China (42%) and Singapore (37%). The others had gone to Vietnam (13%), Hong Kong (4%) and Taiwan (4%).
The majority of the patients were Chinese (44%) while the rest were Malays (37%), and Indians (19%).
Dr Ismail said 17 were foreigners, largely from Vietnam. The others were from Britain, Singapore. Germany, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.
Most of the foreigners are well and have gone home, he said.
Among the Malaysians, 75% were between 18 and 50 years, he said at the daily briefing on the SARS situation at the ministry.
In the event of a suspected SARS-related death, he said there were guidelines to be followed for the post-mortem.
“Only two hospitals in the country can carry out the post-mortems because they have the necessary bio-safety precautions. These are Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan,” he said.
On the probable case in Penang, Dr Ismail said that the 26-year-old tour agency manager was recovering while three family members were still under quarantine.
On whether Malaysian workers overseas who returned to Malaysia needed to be quarantined, Dr Ismail said that it was not necessary if they did not show symptoms but added that they should be given relevant information about SARS symptoms.
In Muar, HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH reports that more than 120 Health Department officers in Johor had been posted at all entry points in the state to screen visitors for SARS.
Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said the bulk of the team was stationed at the Causeway and Second Link in Johor Baru while the others at Kota Tinggi, Pontian and here.
He said that up to Wednesday, 124 visitors had been screened and six were sent to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru for observation.
“Five were discharged after they were found not to have contracted the virus. One is still under observation,'' he said.
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