GEORGE TOWN: It is still too early to say that tuberculosis (TB) caused the death of a 19-year-old girl from a secondary school here.
"The cause of death has not been established yet," said state health committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin here Wednesday.
Carmen Yee, an Upper Six student of SMJK Heng Ee, died on Aug 26 after being admitted to the intensive care unit.
She was reported to have had severe bouts of cough, which led doctors to suspect TB.
Penang Health Department director Dr Asmayani Khalid said a full report was still pending.
Afif said TB cases were not confined to Penang as there is a nationwide spike, and the best people who should be able to give a clear picture would be the Health Ministry.
"A major contributor could be medical tourism, where many patients from other countries come to Penang.
"Private hospitals should play their part in being vigilant against such cases and report any suspected TB patients to the authorities.
Dr Afif said it was an arduous task in detecting TB carriers as they could come in contact with anyone, anywhere, and they can only be confirmed as carriers after they are tested upon admission to hospitals.