Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Zika infection not easily detected – consultant

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
GEORGE TOWN, 5 Sept -- Pengunjung Hospital Pulau Pinang tidak melepaskan peluang untuk mengetahui gejala virus Zika yang dipaparkan melalui poster di ruang legar hospital berkenaan, hari ini. Kerajaan mengambil beberapa langkah untuk mengatasi masalah virus Zika berikutan terdapat satu kes apabila seorang wanita dari Klang  mengidap virus itu selepas pulang dari melawat anaknya di Singapura.  --fotoBERNAMA (2016) HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA

GEORGE TOWN, 5 Sept — Pengunjung Hospital Pulau Pinang tidak melepaskan peluang untuk mengetahui gejala virus Zika yang dipaparkan melalui poster di ruang legar hospital berkenaan, hari ini.
Kerajaan mengambil beberapa langkah untuk mengatasi masalah virus Zika berikutan terdapat satu kes apabila seorang wanita dari Klang mengidap virus itu selepas pulang dari melawat anaknya di Singapura.
–fotoBERNAMA (2016) HAK CIPTA TERPELIHARA

KOTA KINABALU: Out of 10 suspected Zika cases, only two have shown symptoms while the rest become carriers of the virus for a period which may extend to eight months.

According to studies conducted on the virus, the carriers, once they have been bitten by the Aedes mosquito, will only experience tell-tale signs of a typical fever, such as a rise in body temperature and minor joints pain, but nothing which points specifically to the Zika infection.

Public health medicine consultant of the Kota Kinabalu area health office, Dr Jiloris @ Julian F. Dony, is therefore urging the people to keep their areas clean so as to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.

“Once the virus is in the body, only two out of 10 suspected cases will show signs while the others could be carrying the virus without any symptoms.

“It will affect them, maybe indirectly, such as when they have sexual intercourse and face the risk of conceiving a baby suffering from microcephaly.

“This is the challenge because 80 percent of suspected cases show no signs and are very difficult to detect, so this is where public health concerns come into play.

“Now, prevention is the best way to go about it,” he told a press conference at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) public health forum on the Zika virus.

He said working in tandem with scientists and researchers would also help them come up with a way to detect the presence of the virus sooner.

Presently, the health office is keeping tabs on dengue cases and following up when the need arises based on the diagnosis, because there is a possibility that some of the reported patients might actually be suffering from Zika, said Dr Jiloris.

“Investigation into places which are known to be ‘dengue hot spots’ should also be carried out, as there might be Zika presence there as well. We still need to check and do further investigations, and that is why we need dedicated research,” he added.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/09/21/zika-infection-not-easily-detected-consultant/

Zika can be transmitted through sex

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: The Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse from a patient to his or her partner even though neither is symptomatic, said public health medicine consultant of the Kota Kinabalu Health Office, Dr Jiloris Dony.

There are no serious signs to show if someone is infected except for some mild fever.

“So this is our concern now because a female patient may risk conceiving a mentally retarded baby or a baby with an abnormally small head,” said Dr Jiloris.

He was speaking at a press conference during a break from a public health forum on the Zika virus at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences yesterday.

“However, the virus that can cause abnormality to babies has not been detected in Sabah yet because the strain found here is Micronesia unlike in Brazil which is the French Polynesia,” he said.

According to research, the virus can stay in the body for up to eight months and it takes about three days to one week for the body to react after being bitten by the mosquito.

“Actually some 80 per cent of people who are infected by the virus do not have any symptoms and this is our challenge. It is a public health concern because we cannot detect the virus during a check-up,” said Dr Jiloris who also presented a talk on ‘How to Protect Yourself from Zika Infection’ at the forum.

“So in this case, prevention is better than cure. Make sure all mosquito breeding grounds for the female Aedes are destroyed in your house compound,” he said.

by PAUL MU.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/9681

Zika is not something to be taken lightly

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Zika

Dr Jiloris (centre) speaking to reporters while Dr Ahmad (left) and Dr Chua (right) look on

KOTA KINABALU: Zika is not something to be taken lightly; if left neglected it can affect the family institution, thecommunity and the healthcare.

Zika virus usually has milder symptom, commonly short-lasting, no associated fatalities and a low hospitalisation rate as compared to other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, said Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Harun Abdullah.

“But studies have found that there is a strong association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly or babies born with an abnormally small head,” he disclosed during the public health forum on Zika virus at the UMS’ faculty of medicine & health sciences (FMHS) on Tuesday.

As there is no known cure or vaccination available yet, he said integrated vector management aiming to reduce mosquito vector density in a sustainable manner is being actively undertaken by the Health Department.

Dr Harun said: “In areas where the Aedes mosquito is active like here in Kota Kinabalu, we must heed the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) advice on preventive measures.”

“These advices include removal of all open containers with stagnant water in and surrounding houses on a regular basis, or if that is not possible, treatment with larvicides, tight coverage of water containers, barrels, wells and water storage tanks,” he said in his speech read by deputy dean academic & students’ affairs of FMHS Dr Ahmad Faris Abdullah.

“Also the wide use of physical barriers that reduce the risk of exposure to mosquito bites such as mosquito nets, window/door screens and air conditioning,” said Dr Harun.

Meanwhile, he said up to September 14, the report from the MoH indicated there are six confirmed cases of Zika virus infection all over Malaysia, one of which was reported at Taman Public Jaya in Likas here three weeks ago.

“The MoH also found that there were a further 79 cases which showed signs and symptoms of Zika virus infection, although fortunately all cases tested negative,” he revealed.

Based on the research carried out by virologists in Institute of Medical Research (IMR), he said the lineage of Zika virus case in Sabah is different than the first case reported in Johor where our case was caused by the locally-transmitted Asian lineage of Zika virus (Micronesia) rather than the South American lineage (French Polynesia).

A tourist from Germany was also reported to have Zika virus infection two years ago, who was believed to be infected in Sabah, he recalled.

He said the forum can be an avenue to explore certain epidemiological questions and uncertainties such as whether the patient acquired Zika virus locally or from Peninsula, which strain was responsible, is it an indigenous strain or new strain, and if present, from where are these strains endemic in Sabah.

Dr Harun hoped the forum will also provide an updates regarding Zika virus situation in Sabah especially Kota Kinabalu.

“It is also anticipated the forum will help to increase awareness of the public regarding the public health risks of Zika virus and become a foundation of collaboration between our university and Sabah Health Department in conducting comprehensive public health research to benefit the community,” he added.

The topics discussed during the forum were “What Can Zika Virus Do To You?” by Jesselton Medical Centre infectious disease consultant Dr Timothy William; “How to Protect Yourself from Zika Infection?” by Kota Kinabalu Health Office (public health medicine consultant) Dr Jiloris Dony and “Zika Genome Provides Interesting Insights” by FMHSmolecular epidemiologist Prof Dr Kamruddin Ahmed as well as “Forum – Zika Virus in Kota Kinabalu” moderated by FMHS (public health medicine consultant) Datuk Dr Mohd Yusof Ibrahim.

by PAUL MU.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/9683

Prioritise health and nature

Monday, September 12th, 2016

A rethink of our development paradigm is in order as problems like Zika and floods rise.

SEVERAL issues and events have emerged in the last few weeks that raise alarms on the need to shift poli­cies so that health and the environment get their places at the top of our development priorities.

The predominant development model places emphasis on economic and commercial activities, whilst treating health and environmental problems as side effects that can be dealt with, piecemeal, when they arise.

This should not be the case. These “side effects” are going to overwhelm the “mainstream” objective of economic growth if we do not take them more seriously.

The latest health scare is the Zika virus. It has caused great anxiety be­­cause it can cause microcephaly, which affects the growth of a baby’s brain. Not so well known is that Zika can also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition in which a person’s immune system attacks their peripheral nerves and can even result in paralysis.

Singapore has become Asia’s biggest victim of the Zika outbreak, and it is going all out to check it. Thailand also has a significant number of cases. It is a matter of time before Malaysia, sharing many conditions with our neighbours, also experien­ces a Zika outbreak. The first cases have been reported, including a pregnant woman in Johor.

On one hand, there is no need for panic. On the other hand, a major campaign to eradicate the Aedes mosquitoes and to minimise mosquito bites has to be implemented.

We have not done well in controlling dengue, spread by the same mosquito. The number of dengue cases in Malaysia went down from 49,335 in 2008 to 19,884 (36 deaths) in 2011, then shot up to 120,836 (336 deaths) in 2015. In the first half of 2016, there were 57,782 cases.

The dengue situation looks intractable so far, and that implies it will be difficult as well to contain Zika. So, more effort and resources have to be put to drastically reduce the mosquito population, and everyone should do their part.

Another emerging health problem is antibiotic resistance. Drug-resistant bacterial infections killed 19,122 people in Thailand in 2010, according to a study published last week. That is an alarming incidence of deaths, as the United States (with a much higher population than Thailand) is estimated to have 23,000 such deaths a year.

Problems linked to the environment are also cropping up. The annual “haze” started again a few weeks ago, with a few towns registering serious air pollution. Fortu­nately the hazy situation abated, perhaps due to rain.

by MARTIN KHOR.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/global-trends/2016/09/12/prioritise-health-and-nature-a-rethink-of-our-development-paradigm-is-in-order-as-problems-like-zika/

Need to improve hygiene standards

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

WHEN we talk about food, we cannot leave out the issue of hygiene. Poor food handling standards can spell trouble.

Just last week, two incidents of food poisoning were widely reported in many dailies.

On Aug 24, 12 students from Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Terengg-anu’s hostel were taken ill after eating an ayam masak merah dish. The next day, 70 students from Sekolah Menengah Poh Lam’s hostel in Perak were down with food poisoning after eating an egg curry dish for lunch.

According to a statement issued by the Health Ministry’s director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the government was aware of these incidents and was taking steps to ensure they do not happen again.

Investigations by the ministry showed that salmonella was the culprit in both the Terengganu and Perak school cases.

Both canteens have since been closed. The ministry has also undertaken various measures such as increasing inspections of school canteens and kitchens throughout the country.

From 2015 to June 2016, its officials inspected 24,280 canteens and 6,034 hostel kitchens. Of these, 261 (0.9%) operators were ordered to close for failing hygiene standards.

To eliminate the incidence of food poisoning, the ministry is now working together with the Education Ministry to review the contracts for canteen operators and improve hygiene guidelines.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2016/09/04/need-to-improve-hygiene-standards/

Sabah Zika patient dies

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

PETALING JAYA: The second Malaysian who tested positive for Zika locally has died of heart complications.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah confirmed that the 61-year-old ethnic Dusun man from Sabah, who was admitted with multiple health problems, died at 5.30pm yesterday.

“He died of complications from his underlying heart disease,” he said, adding that the full results of the investigation into the cause of death are pending.

The man, who had muscle pain and diarrhoea, was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth 2 Hospital’s emergency and trauma unit on National Day.

Dr Noor Hisham earlier said the case, reported to the ministry on Friday, was believed to be the first locally-transmitted Zika infection in the country.

“This Zika infection was most likely from a local source of infection as the patient did not have any recent travelling history abroad and was probably bitten by an Aedes mosquito infected with Zika,” he said in a statement.

The patient developed a fever on Aug 27 and sought medical attention for the first time at the Luyang Health Clinic on Aug 30. The next day, he sought further treatment at the hospital when he experienced worsening fever, muscle aches and diarrhoea.

The patient, said Dr Noor Hisham, also had high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, kidney stones and gout.

“Due to the multiple illnesses, the patient’s condition was quite serious when he was first seen at the hospital,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the patient’s blood and urine samples tested positive for Zika but his serious clinical condition could also be due to existing health afflictions and not primarily due to the Zika virus.

The Health Ministry, he added, had immediately started vector control activities in the residential areas and places that the patient had visited as well as examined his close contacts.

He warned that since the Zika virus has been detected in the country, Zika cases are expected to increase further.

On Thursday, the ministry announced the first Zika patient diagnosed in the country, a 58-year-old woman who had visited her daughter in Singapore with her husband on Aug 19 and returned on Aug 21.

Her daughter, who works and lives in Paya Lebar, Singapore, had been infected.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/09/04/sabah-zika-patient-dies-sixtyoneyearold-man-succumbs-to-heart-complications/

Aedes: Public urged to keep surroundings clean

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: The public is advised to clean their surroundings regularly to curb the breeding of Aedes mosquito. State Health director, Dr Christina Rundi said that this is imperative as apart from spreading Dengue, Aedes also carries the Zika virus.

She also urged the people to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitos, such as using repellent, wearing clothes that are covering most of the skin surface, and wearing light coloured clothing.

When contacted yesterday, Dr Christina said that this advice is in line with the recommendation given by the Health Ministry in light of Zika outbreak in Singapore recently and a confirmed Zika case in Malaysia.

Nevertheless, she also said that preventive measures are in place at the state’s entry points, and the ongoing operations to rid the Aedes breeding sites are being intensified.

Meanwhile, infectious diseases specialist, Dr Timothy William said that Sabah is at high risk of having Zika cases given the vector in the state.

by ERIC BAGANG.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/9224

Aedes: Public urged to keep surroundings clean

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: The public is advised to clean their surroundings regularly to curb the breeding of Aedes mosquito. State Health director, Dr Christina Rundi said that this is imperative as apart from spreading Dengue, Aedes also carries the Zika virus.

She also urged the people to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitos, such as using repellent, wearing clothes that are covering most of the skin surface, and wearing light coloured clothing.

When contacted yesterday, Dr Christina said that this advice is in line with the recommendation given by the Health Ministry in light of Zika outbreak in Singapore recently and a confirmed Zika case in Malaysia.

Nevertheless, she also said that preventive measures are in place at the state’s entry points, and the ongoing operations to rid the Aedes breeding sites are being intensified.

Meanwhile, infectious diseases specialist, Dr Timothy William said that Sabah is at high risk of having Zika cases given the vector in the state.

by ERIC BAGANG.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/9224

Would-be parents worried over Zika

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

PETALING JAYA: With Malaysia recording its first case of Zika, some couples are re-evaluating their plans to have a child in the immediate future.

While some are postponing pregnancy, others are approaching it with a lot more caution.

“We were planning to have children initially but we are putting it off for now. It is scary when I heard about the Zika case, and I don’t know if we want to have a baby right now. We have to see what kind of precautions the Health Ministry is taking, and whether they can control this virus,” said 32-year-old Christina.

The communications executive said she will consider having children when the situation stabilises.

“It is very scary, but I don’t think that it will stop me from trying to have a child,” said digital strategist Nicole Tan, 27.

”I will read up more on Zika to reduce my chances of contracting it. I will also make sure I don’t go to mosquito-infested areas and use more repellent. It is good to be more educated and aware on Zika, so we know what to do and what not to do,” she said.

While Zika has put a damper on some couples, 30-year Sanjay and his wife are not letting it stop them from starting a family.

“We are still trying to have children. Zika is scary but we cannot just stop our lives. However, we will still look out for symptoms and whatnot. But at the same time we don’t want to postpone anything,” he said.

Expectant parents are also now taking extra precautions over their unborn child.

“I suppose it is even more scary considering that before this we were so worried about dengue. Now, we have to take extra precautions,” said Atasha Ahmad, who is in her second trimester.

“I would rather stay at home and not go out so often, especially when mosquitoes are active,” said the 26-year-old homemaker.

Apart from getting rid of any stagnant water in her home, Atasha also praised the residents’ association in her housing area in Damansara Idaman, which makes sure the neighbourhood is fogged every two weeks to be rid of mosquitoes.

Mellissa Lee is concerned, but says that keeping a level head is important at times like this.

“Zika worries me because it’s not just mosquito-to-human transmission but it can also spread human-to-human, so both mothers and their partners have to be very careful,” said Lee, who is in her third trimester.

by DINA MURAD and VICTORIA BROWN.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/09/01/wouldbe-parents-worried-over-zika/

Yearly medical check-ups the norm in Japan

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s the norm for the young and old in Japan to go for a yearly medical check-up whether in school or at a community or government facility, said a Japanese non-governmental organisation.

“Even for women who don’t work, they are provided with basic services by the local government,” said Sumie Ishii, chairperson of the Japanese Orga­nisation for Interna­tional Coope­­ration in Family Planning.

“They receive information at health centres or they will be assigned nearby doctors, either in a public or private health facility, based on a universal health coverage.

“Its insurance policy will be used for aged care once they retire at 65. For those who do not have enough funds, the social security will pay for their health needs,” she said during a conference on population ageing in selected Asian countries organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation here yesterday.

Ishii also noted that some companies in Japan will compel their employees to improve their health if they are found to be obese or suffering from unhealthy habits.

For instance, if the younger generation is found to be obese, the companies will work out a strict regimen for them, she said.

Health concerns: Chew Mei Fun (third from right) gesturing as she speaks to conference participants in Kuala Lumpur. Among the attendees are IPPF-ESEOR regional director Nora Murat (right) and National Population and Family Development Board Malaysia director general Datuk Dr Siti Norlasiah Ismail (sixth from right).

Health concerns: Chew Mei Fun (third from right) gesturing as she speaks to conference participants in Kuala Lumpur. Among the attendees are IPPF-ESEOR regional director Nora Murat (right) and National Population and Family Development Board Malaysia director general Datuk Dr Siti Norlasiah Ismail (sixth from right).

“They will refer the employees to nutritionists, physical therapists or doctors who will customise a weight-loss programme for them.

“This is because employers are worried that when workers become sick, it will be more expensive to treat,” she added.

Deputy Women, Family and Com­­munity Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the corporate sector, non-governmental organisations and local community associations should set up day centres at strategic places for older persons to support them and their families.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/30/yearly-medical-checkups-the-norm-in-japan/