No Health Ministry staff affected with H5N1

KUALA LUMPUR: No Health Ministry staff involved in containing the outbreak of the H5N1 influenza in Kelantan has tested positive for the virus.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said staff tasked to the affected areas have been given precautionary directives to protect themselves from the epidemic.

"Precautionary steps such as wearing gloves and a face mask is a must for our staff," he said.

"Although some of them had exhibited the influenza-like illness, but a thorough inspection has proven that none of them have H5N1," he told the Dewan Rakyat during the Minister's Question Time.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (BN - Tanah Merah) who asked about rumours that some health officers were suspected of being infected with the virus.

Kelantan declared a state of emergency when the avian flu spread to several districts within a matter of days.

Subramaniam reiterated that there has been no incident of the H5N1 virus in Kelantan being transferred to humans so far.

He said the ministry had actively conducted case detection activities among humans and monitored the radius of 300 metres at locations where the oubreak had occurred.

He added that six districts in Kelantan had been confirmed by the ministry of being positive with H5N1.

The areas concerned are Kota Baru, Pasir Mas, Tumpat, Tanah Merah, Bachok and Pasir Putih.

In handling the outbreak more effectively, Subramaniam also said that all hospitals have been ordered to prepare isolation wards.