Ministry probing if death is SARS related


  • Nation
  • Monday, 21 Apr 2003

BY JANE RITIKOS

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has classified as “pending verification” the death of a man from Cameron Highlands who died on Thursday after having breathing difficulties. 

This is because his history had shown no contact with SARS infected people and he had not been to SARS-affected countries. 

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican said the man, 30, was treated for urinary tract infection at a private hospital after he became ill on April 13 with fever and frequent and painful urination. He was then sent to Ipoh Hospital for further treatment on April 17 after having breathing problems and died the same day.  

“Our report showed he could still walk the day he fell seriously ill but he suddenly died when he got to Ipoh. 

“We are classifying this as a pending case because he had no contact with SARS victims and did not go out of the country.  

“We want to question his contacts and see his passport because we want to be certain and accurate before we can classify the case as SARS or non-SARS,” he said at the daily SARS briefing at the ministry yesterday. 

Dr Ismail said the man's remains were sent to the KL Hospital for a post-mortem before being claimed by his family.  

“We are waiting for the post-mortem report from the KLH specialists while the viral study will take some time,” Dr Ismail said. 

He said the ministry received 13 SARS notification cases as of 6pm on Saturday. Out of this, seven were late notification and all seven patients had been discharged. 

He said the remaining six cases included the deceased from Cameron Highlands. Five other patients being warded were two who had suspected SARS and three with non-SARS cases. 

On the number of cases, he said there were still 19 people warded at SARS-designated hospitals nationwide as of 6pm on Saturday. Of these, 10 are non-SARS, six suspected and three probable cases. 

As of 6pm Saturday, there were 17 people still in quarantine but all were healthy with no symptoms of SARS, he said. 

Dr Ismail said the World Health Organisation had confirmed that as of Saturday there were 3, 547 SARS cases worldwide with 182 deaths.  

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