Schools linked to influenza A outbreak being monitored, says Health Minister

KUALA SELANGOR (Bernama): The Health Ministry has directed district health officials to monitor schools, where the influenza A virus outbreak has been detected in order to stem the spread of the disease among students.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the ministry also reminded the schools to constantly monitor the outbreak as a measure to ensure the health of the students.

"We also urged authorities of the (school) facility to take the necessary prevention and control measures to contain the disease,” he told reporters after presenting a donation of basic necessities to 170 senior citizens from the Chinese community in conjunction with the Chinese New Year at the Tian Hock Temple here Sunday (Jan 12).

Dr Dzulkefly said influenza infection detected in several schools including in Selangor was still under control and no school closure order has been made so far due to the outbreak.

"People also do not have to worry because the supply of medicines to treat the disease, including at private clinics are adequate,” he said.

Influenza is an infection with flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain and fatigue.

The outbreak caused by seasonal influenza virus only causes mild cold to ordinary people but can lead to severe infections in high-risk groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses.

In KULAI, the Education Ministry will follow the advice of the district health office on the need to close schools following the spread of the influenza virus involving students.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said to date, only two classes at SJKC Li Hwa Butterworth, Penang, had been closed since Jan 8 after five pupils were diagnosed with influenza A.

"So far, no one has advised us. If we receive advice, we will immediately make the announcement that the school should be closed.

"The Health Ministry will conduct an assessment whether there is a need to close the school or not,” she told reporters after officiating the SWM Environment Sdn Bhd’s school aid presentation ceremony to 40 students from the B40 group at Sekolah Murni Jaya here Sunday.

She said it was important for parents and school authorities to be aware if their children and pupils have influenza type A symptoms.

"If they have the symptoms, they are advised to rest at home and seek medical attention,” she added.

Last Wednesday (Jan 8), the Health Ministry was reported to be investigating the latest development of the infection at all educational institutions after students tested positive for influenza A. - Bernama

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