KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will conduct detailed post-mortems to find out if two deaths, which occurred in the past few days, are related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican said.
“The deaths are not labelled as SARS-related pending further biological studies. The study is an extra precautionary measure to ascertain if they were linked to this deadly virus,” he said.
The first case was a 37-year-old man who was admitted to the Klang Hospital on April 7. This man, who was an intravenous drug user about 10 years ago, showed unusual symptoms of headache and fever. He also had a history of brain abscess.
“We also discovered that his aunt, who returned from Singapore on March 27, had contacted him. However, she had not shown any symptoms.”
“The man’s chest x-ray showed some haziness and consolidation, but we treated him as a non-SARS patient as he did not show the related flu-like symptoms,” he said, adding that the man died on April 11.
Dr Ismail said the other case was a 65-year-old man, who had returned from China on April 1 and developed fever and dry cough on April 10.
“He was admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on Monday with a slight fever but the x-ray showed that his lungs were clear. However, the man died in his sleep this morning (yesterday),” he said after a briefing for senators in the Parliament House yesterday.
On March 30, a 64-year-old man from Jerantut died in what was the country's first SARS death.
As of 6pm yesterday, he said there were five new suspected cases with a report of a new probable case, while 37 remained in isolation wards in hospitals nationwide.
He said the latest probable case was a 26-year-old man from Kulim, who works in Singapore. The man was in the republic late last month and fell ill on April 11.
“He was treated for upper respiratory tract infection, but his condition did not improve. He was admitted to the Penang General Hospital on April 14,” he said.
Dr Ismail said there were five new suspected cases with two cases each in Selangor and Federal Territory and one in Perak.
Thirteen people remain under quarantine. The number of people in isolation wards are Selangor (12), Perak (7), Kedah (5), Perlis (4), Kuala Lumpur (4), Penang (3) and Sabah (2).
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