MOH on alert for emergence of Disease X in Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry (MOH) is on alert and is preparedness to face Disease X if it appears in this country, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan.

Speaking to reporters after launching the Malaysian Diet Guide Series and the Healthy Eating Responsibility For Women (HER) Initiative on Monday (Oct 2), he said the public need not worry about the disease.

"Although Disease X was not the focus of the recent 76th United Nations General Assembly, Malaysia remains alert to the possibility of the emergence of Disease X.

"And we are confident that we can deal with it effectively based on our experience with previous disease outbreaks, including COVID-19, Nipah virus, SARS, and MERS-CoV," he said.

He added that Malaysia's health system is always strengthened to deal with the disease, and information about disease outbreaks will always be communicated openly.

"At the same time, the public needs to get information and be prepared to face the disease, including following health guidelines, good health practices and getting the latest information on the disease," said Dr Muhammad Radzi.

Disease X is the name coined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 for an unknown pathogen with the potential to cause a worldwide epidemic.

Although the nature and timing of Disease X have yet to be identified, it is reported that health experts have voiced concerns about the impact of the disease.

Meanwhile, in his opening speech at the event, Dr Muhammad Radzi said overweight and obesity remained a major public health problem, with 50.1% of Malaysians diagnosed in 2019.

He said the Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2019 showed that one out of three students experienced the problem, with an increase in the prevalence among students aged 10 to 17 years, from 26.9% in 2012 to 30.4% in 2017, he said.

The HER initiative is a continuation and translation of the Malaysian Diet Guide to address nutritional problems among women of reproductive age between 15 and 49 years.- Bernama

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