Independent task force to investigate death of student diagnosed with TB

17 Sep 2019 / 23:30 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The Health Ministry will set up an independent task force to investigate the death of 19-year-old Carmen Yee who was diagnosed with tuberculosis in August.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Lee Boon Chye (pix) said an independent committee headed by the ministry, will consist experts from other states to investigate the possibility of negligence in treating the girl.

“We will begin the investigation within a month or two. The task force would be set up within two weeks,” he told reporters in a press conference at the Penang General Hospital (HPP) here today.

Earlier, Dr Lee along with state health director Dr Asmayani Khalib and HPP director Datuk Dr Norsidah Ismail met Yee’s family members.

The Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan (SMJK) Heng Ee student died at the HPP on Aug 27 after she was admitted to the intensive care unit on Aug 23.

Elaborating further, Dr Lee said the hospital had conducted x-ray screenings and Mantoux test (screening for tuberculosis) on 376 individuals connected to Carmen including her parents, students, and teachers.

He said the tests found that 33 individuals had been exposed to the disease, but none of them were found to be suffering from tuberculosis.

“None of these 376 individuals have active tuberculosis. This means there is no risk of the disease spreading. So far, there is no evidence that the virus has spread to others.

“The 33 individuals showed they were exposed to the virus and need to be administered with preventive treatment compared to the normal tuberculosis treatment,” he explained.

Furthermore, Dr. Lee also advised the school authorities, not to panic as the screening was carried out in the current context so that there is no risk of the disease spreading among them.

However, he added the 33, who was non-contagious, would be monitored for the next two years to ensure they were really free of tuberculosis. — Bernama

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