Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ministry tracking down 106 on AirAsia flight

18 May 2009

Patients being tested for influenza A waiting for treatment at Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is tracking down 101 passengers and five crew members of AirAsia AK5358 flight to Penang on May 13, the same flight taken by a woman who has been infected with influenza A (H1N1).

The woman had taken the flight from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal on arrival from Newark, New Jersey, on Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat said all passengers on board had been identified and efforts were being made to trace and quarantine them. They and their families would have to undergo the standard seven-day quarantine and the ministry would also trace the people they had been in contact with. It is not known if the woman had taken the shuttle bus from the KLIA to the LCCT.
However, she was picked up by her family at the Penang Airport. The woman was the second confirmed case of the influenza after her 21-year-old male friend was declared Malaysia's first case. The man was isolated at the Sungai Buloh Hospital at 6.45pm on Thursday, a day after he arrived at KLIA and was picked up by his family. As he was down with fever, his movements had been restricted to his home since his arrival. Both families are in quarantine at home. At present, the two patients are reportedly fine, although the man still has fever. "They will be discharged after they are declared fit and have completed their quarantine," Dr Ramlee said at a press conference. He said a possibly wider spread of the virus from the duo could not be ruled out. Those who believed they had been exposed to the virus and had symptoms should go to the nearest health centre and not self-medicate, he said.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH091 landed at the KLIA at 7.15am on Wednesday.
The virus has a two-to-three-day incubation period during which symptoms linked to the disease would not be visible. Dr Ramlee also announced that until yesterday morning, 102 notifications were made to the ministry's Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre, including those from the MH091 flight. All, except the two confirmed cases, were declared free from the virus. Of the 119 passengers on the flight whose last stop was Kuala Lumpur, 95 people, including 15 foreigners, had been put under home quarantine, while 24 people, including 23 foreigners, were still being traced.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd senior general manager (operations) Datuk Azmi Murad said officers stationed at the KLIA, including Immigration and Customs officials, would be monitored for any symptoms of the flu. Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman said his ministry would consult the Health Ministry for advice and guidelines on the safety measures that Malaysian students abroad should observe.

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