KOTA BARU: Samples of bacteria taken from a 59-year-old man from Tanah Merah, Kelantan who died mysteriously on Monday have been sent for tests at the Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor.
State Health Services director Datuk Ahmad Razin Ahmad Mahir said doctors believe that an airborne type of bacteria (klebsiella pneumoniae) could be the cause of the man's death.
Some 40 members of the deceased's family and relatives had been placed under quarantine at the Tanah Merah Hospital as a precautionary measure.
Twenty three of them have been allowed to return home and advised to practise social distancing and good personal hygiene.
Dr Ahmad Razin said details had been given to the authorities in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur after several of the deceased's relatives from the two states came into contact with the man.
"Based on our initial investigations, the deceased died of severe pneumonia.
"Two others have been admitted to Tanah Merah Hospital, one of whom needs respiratory aid to keep him alive," Dr Ahmad Razin said.
He said that of the 37 people who came into contact with the deceased, 23 are from Kelantan, 14 from Selangor and two from Kuala Lumpur. So far, 11 of them are suffering from coughs and fever.
"We have supplied our counterparts in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur with all the details for their next course of action," Dr Ahmad Razin told reporters here Thursday.
Dr Ahmad Razin said samples of the bacteria had been sent to Sungai Buloh Hospital, the centre of excellence on contagious diseases, for tests.
He said the deceased was with a group of family members from Tanah Merah that had gone for a family trip in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 28.
"The victim sought medical help at Tanah Merah Hospital on Feb 4 after he complained of breathing difficulties. He was then transferred to Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital where he died the next day.
"The second victim, a 28-year-old man staying in Kuala Lumpur, who was present at the gathering, visited the deceased in Tanah Merah on Feb 6.
"He was admitted with the same symptoms at the Tanah Merah Hospital two days later and was diagnosed as having severe pneumonia," Dr Ahmad Razin said.He said the case "is not at an epidemic level" but those who have cough, breathing difficulties and fever should seek treatment immediately.