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M'sia's first H7N9 virus case detected in Chinese tourist

Publication Date : 13-02-2014


The first Influenza A (H7N9) case in Malaysia has been detected in a Chinese national.

The 67-year-old woman infected by the avian flu had reportedly complained of fever, cough, body aches and fatigue four days before her arrival in Kuala Lumpur from Guangdong on February 3.

She took off to Sandakan, Sabah, the next day before moving on to Kota Kinabalu on February 6.

“The woman was referred to a private hospital in Kota Kinabalu on February 7 and (after two screenings) on February 11, the sample showed positive results for H7N9,” Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said at a press conference in Putrajaya on Wednesday.

He added that the woman was in stable condition.

Dr Subramaniam said there was no cause for panic as the risk for human transmission of H7N9 was “very low”.

Screenings conducted on 20 people who had close contact with the Chinese woman in her tour group and at a holiday resort showed they were in good health, he said.

To date, 330 cases of H7N9 have been reported among humans in China, with 65 deaths.

The World Health Organisation has not issued any travel advisory against visits to China. There is currently no vaccinations available to prevent the H7N9 virus.

Nevertheless, Dr Subramaniam urged those travelling to China to take precautionary measures by avoiding contact with poultry there, including at farms and markets.

“We advise Malaysians to continuously maintain good hygiene practices, such as frequent sanitising or washing of hands,” Dr Subramaniam said.

He further advised the public to immediately seek medical attention if they have influenza-like symptoms, especially after coming into contact with live poultry.

In Sandakan, it is learnt that the tourist had felt ill when she first arrived in Kuala Lumpur but continued her journey to Sabah and then checked into a hotel in Tuaran, about 30km from here, on February 7.

She requested medical treatment and was taken to the district hospital where it was believed she was initially tested for the virus.

Upon a request she was transferred to a private medical centre in Kota Kinabalu, where a second test confirmed she was infected with Influenza A virus.

Sabah Health Department director Dr Christina Rundi could not be reached for comment.


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