Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu Alert at level 4/ 猪流感警戒升级

The swine flu spread rapidly. It has struck more than 2000 people involving 16 nations with more than 150 deaths.

The WHO raises the swine flu alert to level 4, two notches before level 6, the full blown pandemic. When there is human to human transmission and with the convenience of travel, a full blown pandemic cannot be ruled out.

We need to be alarmed, but we should not panic and overreact. People talk about banning travel to the affected countries. It is too drastic. We should travel to the affected countries if it is essential, otherwise just avoid it.

In the same way, we should not ban travellers from the affected nations.
Screening air travellers is the most we can do. Even then it is not effective since the infected travellers may not have symptoms at the airport. It is crucial that we treat and isolate the “suspected” cases of swine flu, and trace his contact. This is often the most basic and most effective in containing an outbreak. Healthcare workers should be alert and sensitive. Any travellers with flu liked symptoms from the infected nation should be isolated and monitored while waiting his illness to be diagnosed and confirmed.

There is a tendency to allude to pass pandemic flu like the Spanish flu in 1919 that kills thousands of people. Today the healthcare systems of most nations are better compared to the 19th century. We have better disease control protocol and surveillance system in place. There are better medical technologies with well trained healthcare provider. There have been great advancement in the medication and treatment of viral diseases including rapid diagnosis and preventive vaccines. However we must still be on the alert.

Information is important and there should be daily update about the swine flu epidemic. The rakyat becomes more prepared instead of unfounded rumours running wild. The Director of General of Ministry of Health should be able to do a good job. He has vast experience gained from the Nipah, SARS and Avian flu epidemic.

For many nations the swine flu comes at the worst time. Many have to face the economic slowdown and the limited financial resources are now diverted to combat an impending pandemic. In short, many nations have to face the economic tsunami and probably a health tsunami.

Nations have to monitor the health of the economy and the health of its people. SARS epidemic cost the Asia Pacific region an estimated USD40 billion. It lasted 6 months and killed 775 of the 8000 people infected in 25 countries. Let’s hope the swine fever will not come to our shore.

In any crisis, there are those who stand to benefit. In this context many Malaysian companies involved in glove and masks production will be busy fulfilling new orders. Theirs share prices shot up in the last 2 days. Tourism related counters like airlines and hotels facing a drop in prices.

The MOH should revive its stockpile of tamiflu. I understand that it has about 2 million dosages which is less than 10% of our total population of 28 million.
It should have the minimal for the treatment of the frontlinners who are involved in the prevention and treatment of swine fever should it come to our nation. It should have stockpile to treat personnel who are maintaining the essential services of our nations, eg: police, banking staff, water work, TNB etc.


猪流感在墨西哥爆发以来快速蔓延,截至本月29日,疫区已多达16个,染病人数超过2000人,死亡人数高达159人。

疫情迅速在全球扩散,世界卫生组织不得将猪流感警戒升级,从目前第3级提高到第4级。在这个空运便利的时代,一旦爆发人际间传染病例,将无可避免引发全球“群体性”传染。

在疫情恶化前,我们有必要提高警惕但不该恐慌和过度反应。有人说应禁止国人前往受影响的国家,我认为不该断然实行旅游禁令。人民能自行衡量,有必要才前往疫区国家。同样的,我们也不该禁止疫区人民来马。

目前,在入境处进行体检是防范入境乘客引入疫症的唯一方法。不过,这不是最有效应付和防范疫情的方法。
一些受感染的乘客很可能在抵境时还未出现任何症状,面对疑似个案,当局应该隔离“疑似”病人进行检验,紧接追踪所有和他有接触的人。追踪并迅速切断接触人的联系,是遏制疫情最基本也最有效的方法。所以,医务人员必须时刻提高警觉,凡来自疫区且患有感冒症状的入境者都应该被隔离,以作进一步确诊。

1919年西班牙爆发的流感夺走逾千条性命。相较于19世纪,今天的医疗卫生体制更进步完善,我们有顶尖的疾病监控系统、先进的医疗设备、训练有素的医务人员,在病毒性疾病领域也取得巨大进步,包括快速诊断和研制疫苗。尽管如此,我们也不能掉以轻心,时时得提高警觉。

由于猪流感有全球扩散得趋势,国内难免人心惶惶,
因此有关当局应该每日更新猪流感的最新疫情,让人民有足够准备应付任何突况,避免大家听信毫无根据的流言
在这方面,现任卫生总监凭他过去处理立百病毒、非典型肺炎以及禽流感的经验,我相信他必将胜任有余。

在全球经济低迷之际遭受猪流感侵袭,让许多疫区国家连受打击。换言之,这些国家正面临经济和健康海啸的双重冲击。各国政府在拼经济之余,也不能忽略人民的健康。2002年杪在亚太地区爆发的夺命非典,该疫症持续6个月,有8千人受感染,775人丧命,损失多达400亿美元。

我们常言危机蕴藏商机,突破危机则处处逢生。猪流感让手套和口罩需求大量增加,因而使我国的胶制产品领域受惠。该领域的股价在过去两天内持续攀升,反观旅游业者如航空和酒店估则持续下滑。

另一方面,卫生部应确保抗流感药物储存充足。据我了解,当局目前存有约200万剂量此药物,还不及我国总人口2千800万人的10%。
一旦我国出现确诊病例,当局须确保为防范和治疗猪流感的前线人员,提供一定剂量的抗流感药物。除此以外,也必须确保其他基本服务领域的工作人员,包括警员、银行职员等获得药物供应


6 comments:

Ben said...

Dr Chua,
Your blog content is good. And i believe that you are capable of doing your job that is to serve the nation. Last but not least, JPJ and kastam need a serious revamp.

"When you killed the lion,those who in the jungle will follow what you said" Sean Penn

shankar~selina said...

It is now level 5.

Malaysian said...

Dear Dr Chua,

we miss the kementerian under you...

nowadays seen like the kementerian never update everyday the lastest ifo about swine flu and many of my friends do not know this flu also.

should our government must put more effort in fighting this swine flu???


Regards,

马来西亚人为先 上
GoMalaysian.Blogspot.Com
http://gomalaysian.blogspot.com/

Low C. W. said...

look like is time for every department to estimate what can be worst. Not just Health ministry to do this now, Others like Finance, Work, Agriculture, and Tourism,need to listdown the actioan plan if the Alert level increase.

giveme5g said...

meeting is boring
how do u think?
http://5g.my/huatuan/meeting/index.php?q=node/33

VM said...

I agree with Low C. W, the cabinet needs to work out some solid action plans involving cross-ministries cooperation...However, more often than not our cabinet under BN is very "re-active" rather than "pro-active"...if we look at the "qualities" of some of our ministers we will know why the Rakyat are concerned..

Sarcastically (and totally sad for Rakyat), some of our ministers under BN leadership can always "tai-ci" things around when bad things happen and blame it on the GOD..and worse still, no disciplinary actions had ever been taken on those slackers....

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