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4 œœ theSun | WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19 2009

news without borders

Quick answers needed as fatality rate rises


THE death rate frequency per A(H1N1) this is the time to “tell it as it is”.
infection in Malaysia is alarming, at one Isaac Starr, a third year medical
in 60 cases – the highest in the Asean Comment student at the University of Penn- Country No. of cases Deaths % Dead Frequency
region with a patient fatality percent- by Joseph Masilamany sylvania in1918, described the
age (PFP) of 1.66. newsdesk@thesundaily.com final moments of patients afflicted 1. Malaysia 3,857 64 1.66 1 in 60
With 3,857 cases of infection and by the Spanish Flu thus: “As their 2. Singapore 1,217 11 0.90 1 in 111
64 mortalities as of Monday, Malaysia We cannot stop the force of this lungs filled … the patients became 3. Thailand 11,585 97 0.84 1 in 119
seems to fare poorly in dealing with the pandemic at will. But we can make short of breath and increasingly
pandemic. it less severe than it would be other- cyanotic (turning blue). After gasp- 4. Laos 156 1 0.64 1 in 156
Somewhere in the cycle of man- wise. What we can do is to be ready ing for several hours they became 5. Indonesia 854 5 0.59 1 in 171
agement of the pandemic through the to deal with the consequences and delirious and incontinent, and 6. Philippines 3,207 10 0.31 1 in 321
containment (delaying) and mitigation have “contingency plans” to ease the many died struggling to clear
phases, there seems to be a loose “nut” heavy impact of the pandemic in the their airways of a blood-tinged
7. Vietnam 1,454 2 0.14 1 in 727
that needs tightening. community. froth that sometimes gushed from 8. Brunei 850 1 0.12 1 in 850
Where have we gone wrong? What Let us first get down to the brass their noses and mouths. It was a Source: www.flucount.org
have we not done right? In which direc- tacks, in order to soften the full brunt dreadful death!“
tion are we headed? of this paradoxical virus, by putting As Starr attested, the Spanish
Quick answers are required to these “tangible structures” in place instead of Flu kills upfront and point-blank. nurse with a suction catheter in her stage of the pandemic.
questions to stem the tide as any flu just highlighting the socio-pathological The virus overrides the body’s immune hand. That would ease the trauma of We must be mindful that we are
pandemic, like a hurricane, is a force statistics of the infection everyday. system so fast that the usual coup asphyxiation. up against a motley strain of influenza
of nature. The Spanish Flu (1918) and the cur- de grace – a secondary infection of We are aware that H1N1 deaths in virus which is as morbid as the Spanish
Compared to other Asean coun- rently rampaging pathogen are of the pneumonia – hardly gets a chance Malaysia are occurring in the commu- Flu. By all counts, the A(H1N1) is more
tries, our death rate is higher than same influenza subtype called H1N1. to gain a foothold. Instead, the virus nity and it is disturbing that some have than just a “mild” Mexican shuffle!
Singapore’s, which has a death rate per The 1918 flu strain was initially causes relentless bleeding that fills up died alone without end-of-life clinical If all this seems like gloom and
infection of one in 111 or a PFP of 0.90. passed off as nothing more than a case the lungs, and the end comes when support or palliative intervention. doom, remember, the Spanish Flu
Singapore recorded only 11 deaths from of the perennial sniffles that occured in patients “drown” in their own body If we have come to a stage like this continues to be “a near miss for our
1,217 cases, and Thailand registered 97 autumn – but it insidiously turned rabid fluids accumulating in their lungs. – where post mortems are needed to species” as the H1N1 strain – though
deaths from 11,585 cases, representing and deadly. Ideally, deaths like these should be determine the cause of death in some ancient – is ever in a state of flux,
a death rate per frequency of one in We need a wake-up call right away accommodated in an intensive care cases (which are, in fact, H1N1 mortali- evolving into new genes and seeking
119 and a PFP of 0.84. or we will be caught napping. Perhaps, setting attended to by a critical care ties) – we have come to a very critical new hosts.

Surgical masks to be Toll reaches


67 with three
more deaths

price-controlled item by Karen Arukesamy


newsdesk@thesundaily.com

PETALING JAYA: The death toll due


to Influenza A(H1N1) increased to 67
MASRY CHE ANI/THESUN

PAPAR: The ceiling price for surgical with three more fatalities reported
masks will be announced today, Domes- yesterday.
tic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism The latest deaths involve a 33-
Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob year-old woman, a 10-year-old girl
said. and a 71-year-old man.
He said the announcement would Health director-general Tan Sri
also cover the types of masks to be Mohd Ismail Merican said in a state-
listed as price-controlled items fol- ment the woman was referred to
lowing the hike in the price of surgical the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on Aug
masks amid concerns over the Influenza 7 where her pneumonia worsened
A(H1N1) pandemic. after receiving treatment in a private
“Officers of the ministry had a hospital for four days.
meeting with the Health Ministry today “The patient was reported to be
(Tuesday) to determine the price and down with cough and fever since
the types of masks to be included in the July 31. She initially received treat-
A pharmacy in Bandar Perda,
list,” he told reporters after opening the ment in a private clinic for two days
Seberang Perai, displays a sign that
Cooperative Excellence Training Centre before being referred to a private
says that masks are available. From
and the Second National Cooperative hospital due to pneumonia on Aug
today, certain types of masks will
Policy Convention here. 3,” he said.
be listed as price-controlled items.
He said that after the ceiling price is The woman received antiviral
announced, errant traders or suppliers INFLUENZA A(H1N1) HOTLINE treatment from Aug 7 and died on
could face a fine of up to RM15,000 or a Aug 12 due to severe bronchopneu-
maximum of two years in jail or both upon » 03-88810200/300 certain states like Sabah and Sarawak, there can be monia and was confirmed positive
conviction under the Price Control Act 1946. » 03-88834414/415 two or three parliamentary areas in one district,” for A(H1N1) the same day.
Ismail Sabri said it was unethical for traders to sell he said. Mohd Ismail said the 10-year-old
the masks at RM5 each when the normal price was An MP or an assemblyman would be appointed to girl was admitted to hospital on July
only about 50 sen each. forward and carry out their corporate social respon- head the council in his or her respective area. 27 and was diagnosed with systemic
“Imagine the burden borne by the poor ... a family sibilities to help the less fortunate. Ismail Sabri said the government targeted 2012 lupus erythematous (SLE).
of six, for instance, needs to spend RM30 to buy the Ismail Sabri also said a cooperative council would as the year to achieve the 10,000th cooperative. SLE is a chronic, multifaceted in-
masks, meaning, the family has to spend hundreds be set up in each parliamentary constituency next There are 6,857 cooperatives now. flammatory disease that can affect
of ringgit to buy the masks during the pandemic to year to monitor the sector’s development and obtain “We are not just aiming for the number but also every organ system of the body.
protect its members from infection,” he said. feedback from cooperative members. to instil the cooperative culture among the people,” “Antiviral treatment was given
He also hoped that big corporations would come “The set-up is based on parliamentary areas as in he said. – Bernama (from) Aug 7 but she died on Aug 13
due to SLE with severe renal impair-

Evaluate economic impact, says medical director ment. The girl was confirmed with
A(H1N1) on the same day,” he said.
The senior citizen, who died
KUALA LUMPUR: Companies, govern- “Under reasonable assumptions ices and outsourced customer care. It cases of employees on medical leave, on Aug 14, had chronic obstrutive
ment departments, agencies, industries on infection and death rates (30% and helps organisations manage the health absenteeism and inability to work airway (COAD), hypertension, is-
and others should start to evaluate any 0.4%, respectively, of the total global and safety risks facing their travellers, overtime, which come with a possible chaemic heart disease and diabetes
economic impact brought by the influ- population), six months from October global workforce and customers. It has economic impact. mellitus and was confirmed positive
enza A(H1N1) pandemic or the like. 2009 and responses by households operations in 70 countries. Mitakidis pointed out that in a of A(H1N1) on Aug 15.
The medical director for South and businesses to the pandemic, we Mitakidis, who has wide experience company in Vietnam, it had recorded “He was down with fever, cough
and Southeast Asia, International SOS estimate that the world GDP would on both hospital and doctor service an absentee rate of 40% of its total and breathing difficulty for two
Global Medical Services, Dr Michael be cut by more than US$2.5 trillion or quality issues, said that in counting workforce for a duration of about 10 days and was admitted to hospital
Mitakidis, said yesterday that besides 3.5% of the 2009 GDP,” said Mitakidis, the economic cost of a pandemic such days which, he said, would have a on Aug 12 and received antiviral
assessment related to medical and who is based in Singapore. as Influenza A(H1N1), an organisation huge economic impact on the said treatment on the same day,” Mohd
health policy factors, it was useful to He was presenting a paper titled should look into areas such as human company. Ismail said.
evaluate the economic impact as a “Business Continuity Planning Lessons resources cost, loss of income cost, in- He also suggested that a pandemic Two hundred and seventy-six
result of the latest flu pandemic. from 2009 Influenza A(H1N1)” at the surance cost and travel-related cost. information service, updates, bulletins patients were being treated in
He said that, based on their 3rd Annual Series-Asia Healthcare On the health care costs, aspects and alerts be created so that employ- hospitals nationwide with 36 in the
corporate case studies and surveys, 2009, organised by the Asian Strategy ICU.
to be looked into include medications, ees could be better informed about
Twenty-one of the those in the
together with global pandemic data, it and Leadership Institute (Asli) here. admission to hospitals and specialist the pandemic preparedness and be
ICU are from the high-risk group,
was estimated that the world’s Gross International SOS is the world’s service costs. provided with daily round-up of the
including two mentally-disabled and
Domestic Product (GDP) would see a leading provider of medical assistance, He said that in a situation like Influ- global situation and other related
three children below one.
huge drop. international healthcare, security serv- enza A(HINI), there were bound to be developments. – Bernama