KOTA KINABALU: If there is no detection of new cases of H7N9 by February 18, seven days after the first Influenza A case was found in Sabah, the state health authorities will declare the virus as contained and not an epidemic, in line with public health policy.
Sabah Women and Children Hospital director Dr Tan Bee Hwai said however, the hospital would not take the issue or any other illnesses lightly and would constantly be on the alert as well as take precautionary measures.
“Similar to what happened with the H1N1 virus, we consider every case as important and are constantly on the alert. We are not taking this hands down,” Tan told reporters and Api-Api assemblywoman Christina Liew, during a courtesy visit to the hospital, yesterday.
Tan reiterated the Health Ministry’s advice to the public to always take precautionary measures, such as frequent hand-washing and wear surgical masks for those who experience any influenza-like-illness (ILI) symptoms.
This is because, those who may be affected by the H1N1 and H7N9 project only symptoms that are similar to ILI, which are, fever of 38 degree Celsius and above, cough, and flu.
“Unfortunately, the only symptoms are those similar to ILI so self-examination to know whether or not it’s H1N1 or H7N9. So self-declaration is very important. Those who experience any such symptoms and want to get themselves checked should do so at the nearest health facilities,” advised Tan.
Meanwhile, he disclosed that out of the seven H1N1 patients who were treated at the hospital, four had been discharged while three are still being warded. No new cases had been detected, he said.
He assured the public that the virus is contained and that the state health authorities are taking the necessary steps to contain both the H1N1 and H7N9 virus.
“We urge the public not to panic and to just increase practice of hand hygiene and wear surgical masks.
“We also ask for people not to ridicule those who wear surgical masks and protect themselves as well,” he said.