Throat swab tests at 10 more hospitals
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians suspected of having the influenza A (H1N1) virus can take throat swab tests at 10 more hospitals, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr.. Ismail Merican.
He said these hospitals were in addition to the 28 designated hospitals which had been conducting the test.
The 10 are Selayang Hospital, Serdang Hospital, Ampang Hospital, Putrajaya Hospital, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital, Seberang Jaya Hospital, Sungai Petani Hospital, Sultan Ismail Hospital and Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital.
The ministry will monitor the situation and add more hospitals to the list, including private ones, if necessary, he told a press conference after chairing a technical committee on influenza A yesterday.
On the rapid spread of the virus, Dr. Ismail said the country recorded a 400% increase of the cases within one week.
"This is because some patients did not tell us the whole truth about the people they came into contact with."
Currently, he said, many did not understand the meaning of self-quarantine.
"Some parents still send their chilDr.en to religious classes after the day schools they go to have been closed," he said.
He said the ministry had also decided to give a two-day dose of Tamiflu to flight passengers who arrived at the country and detected with fever before they go home for self-quarantine.
"We will take throat swabs from these people and they will only be required to go to the hospitals if they test positive for influenza A."
Patients who show good progress three days after admission would be discharged, he added.
"After that, we will allow them to stay at home to finish their medication. This is due to the increasing number of patients. We want to reduce the number of hospital admissions," he said.
Previously, those who tested positive for the virus had to stay in the hospital for seven days.
On the distribution of Tamiflu, Dr. Ismail said the medication would only be given to household contacts - people who came into contact with an infected person for more than four hours and those who had contact with the patient two days before he or she tested positive for the virus. He explained that this was because the medication works best within the first 48 hours a person gets close with the disease.
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