Thursday, April 30, 2009


The dangerous stage begins now. I don't like how they have the many variations of the virus, sounds like Hepatitis too. I was in KL during the JE (Japanese encephalitis) virus outbreak in 1999. That was one of the most scariest experiences in life. I recalled seeing a mosquito is worst than seeing ghost. You have to avoid contact from any mosquito at all costs to save your own life! Nobody dares to eat pork then and I remembered the members of parliament have to promote bak kut teh in Klang to give the impression to the public that it is safe to eat pork. If I am not mistaken, it is also because of this outbreak that Singapore has since stop importing pork from Malaysia.

I was in the sea on a motorboat visiting islands of the north of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah during the tsunami 26th December 2004. We were in the sea around 9am-3pm. The waves were ferocious and moving quite violently then but luckily we were not affected. My mom was on the plane going towards Brisbane when the September 11, 2001 tragedy happened. She said Brisbane was heavily guarded since Bill Clinton was on holiday there then.

I was in Singapore in 2003 during the SARS outbreak, which is deadly too. We had to take temperature everytime before going into the exam hall. After exam, we can see an army of cleaners entering the exam halls to disinfect it. The toilets were cleaned many times a day and the smell of disinfection chemicals and Dettol was everywhere. I recalled we had to purposely freeze our ears at the bus airconditioning vents to cool ourselves down before reaching the exam venue from the hostel. In the hostel, we had to go down to take our temperature daily. If you miss a day, you will be fined S$50. We have to also declare our temperature online. I recalled the MRT was so empty when I went for rides. They had to wipe the escalator hand grip full time. Whenever someone cough a little or sneeze a little in the MRT, everyone will look at the person like a suspicious terrorist or the most hated person on earth. That was how intense things had become. We had deaths in campus as well as infections detected close to campus at Pasir Panjang so everyone was going through a really tough time.

Compared to the JE virus, the current H1N1 virus may not even be close as deadly. I recalled those who got it then will go into the stage of coma and died just few days over. It was a painful period when you read about how the virus wiped out the entire family. It was common then to read about a child who has both parents going into coma stage and they died one after another. Some of the children got infected too, went into coma within days and died within days. That was how deadly the virus can kill.

However, WHO seems to suggest that H1N1 has a potential to evolve / mutate to become far more powerful than what it is now. The scariest thing about this virus is that you won't know you will get infected as soon as possible as the symptoms may come say 1 month later. SARS was different because as soon as you have high fever, the chances are higher. There is a company which says it has a test kit to detect infection within 2 hours. I am not sure how effective it really is.

I have been receiving many circulars today where they may go to the SARS stage of taking your temperature everyday and may even order you to wear masks. WHO has raised the alert to five on a scale of six. The Singapore causeway CIQ is already arranging a space in the entrance area for a space of possibly temperature monitoring devices and the queue lines to be in place. I have a friend who worked with those machines during the SARS period and he shared with me that he will never want to work with them again, even how high the pay was then. While our Malaysia side is still in the TIDAK APA mode, without anything at all in place. Business as usual...

I have a friend who is planning to visit Vietnam tomorrow, my family is planning a cruise trip from Singapore to Phuket this weekend while we have a conference in Montreal to go in mid June. This is definitely not the best time to go and enjoy a holiday or attend conferences. We have to monitor constantly. Until then, we hope this flu will not last as long as SARS (which is about 8 months) or even longer or turning into a pandemic. Stay safe people, be careful and take good care of your health (avoid getting a cough or flu)! Take good care of your loved ones, especially young children and old folks! Be vigilant!

Phase five, one step short of a full pandemic, is characterised as a "strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalise... the planned mitigation measures is short," the WHO global emergency planning says.

Swine Flu FAQ

Practise good personal hygiene and be socially responsible by:

a. Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, especially before touching your eyes, nose or mouth;
b. Turning quickly away from anyone near you if you are about to cough or sneeze, and do not cough or sneeze at him;
c. Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue properly in the dust bin after use;
d. Avoiding crowded places if you are unwell and wear a surgical mask to cover your nose and mouth;
e. Staying home from work or school when you are sick; and
f. Using a serving spoon when sharing food at meal times.

Also, leading a healthy lifestyle helps to build up your immunity and protects you against infection.

a. Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and vegetables.
b. Be active. Do 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week.
c. Learn to relax and have enough sleep and rest.
d. Do not smoke.

Members of the public who have travelled to affected places and who develop respiratory illness with fever (Temperature > 38 degree C) within seven days after their return should put on a surgical mask and seek medical consultation immediately. They should also disclose their travel histories to their doctors.

You should call 993 if you have symptoms of swine flu and had recently travelled to areas which have cases of swine flu (please refer to MOH website for latest list of affected areas).

Some 28 public hospitals throughout Malaysia have been identified by the ministry to deal with the health threat should the situation call for it. Among the criteria the hospitals must have are isolation wards, specialist doctors and Tamiflu antiviral stock.

“In the public sector hospitals, we have enough antiviral stock for 10 per cent of the population, which is for more than 2.6 million people if they are affected,” the official said.

Below is a list of the hospitals according to state:


Hospital Tuanku Fauziah, Kangar


Hospital Kedah, Alor Star; Hospital Kulim; Hospital Langkawi


Hospital Besar Pulau Pinang


Hospital Ipoh; Hospital Slim River


Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang; Hospital Sungai Buloh; Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, Petaling Jaya

Federal Territory

Hospital Kuala Lumpur

Negri Sembilan

Hospital Seremban


Hospital Malacca


Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johor Baru; Hospital Batu Pahat


Hospital Kuantan; Hospital Temerloh


Hospital Kuala Terengganu


Hospital Kota Baru; Hospital Tumpat


Hospital Kuching; Hospital Sibu; Hospital Miri; Hospital Bintulu


Hospital Labuan


Hospital Queen Elizabeth, Kota Kinabalu; Hospital Sandakan; Hospital Tawau

To find out more about swine-flu and for updates, please visit the ministry's website at or call: 03-8881-0200/03-8881-0300 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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