Now that the H1N1 flu has spread worldwide with 35 countries reporting more than 8,400 cases, the pressure falls upon WHO to upgrade the alert from level 5 to level 6 of the pandemic level. With 2 confirmed cases in Malaysia, we have also gone into the world map and the WHO radar screen of Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Once a pandemic announcement is made, it would have severe economic consequences affecting trade and travel. Many countries with inadequate health infrastructure will be greatly stressed. Some nations may even place travel restriction and it may totally cripple the tourism industry. For some countries who are dependant on the travel industry, this may be the last straw that breaks the camel’s economic back.
Personally, I feel that there is too much of publicity about Influenza A (H1N1) and this have generated mass panic, rather than rational response. There is no reason to panic over Influenza A (H1N1) since up till now, death from Influenza A (H1N1) is still on the low side, with less than 1 percent. Of course it spreads rapidly and hence, has high morbidity. On the yearly basis, the common flu kills up to 500, 000 people a year without much fun fare and publicity. Of course if the H1N1 virus mutates and becomes more virulent and spread as rapidly as at present, then we are in trouble.
Right now, I have received a lot of calls about people putting on hold their intention to travel. Having said that, we should not let our guards down. Personal hygiene is still the best protection. Until then, we hope that all airplane passengers travelling with the 2 confirmed cases and all people coming into contact with them should come forward for observation. Otherwise, they may be passing the bugs to others.
I have been given to understand that the isolation ward in Sg. Buloh Hospital is full and new patients will be going to General Hospital Kuala Lumpur. I am of the opinion that for the more educated suspect cases, it suffices to put them in house quarantine and close monitoring by doctors, rather than in isolation ward in the hospital.
我个人认为，A（H1N1）型流感的宣传和报道已经过度，以致引起群众恐慌 ，失去理智反应。我们并无需感到惊慌失措 ，因为爆发至今，A（H1N1）型流感的死亡病例仍少于1％，属于偏低。由于疫情正迅速蔓延，所以有很高的病发率。其实，若按年计算，普通流感平均每年夺走50万人命，然而却没有被大肆报道。当然，如果H1N1病毒产生突变变得更剧毒，以目前速度蔓延的话，那情况就不妙了。