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Complacency blamed for H1N1 surge - 39 new cases

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  • Complacency blamed for H1N1 surge - 39 new cases

    Complacency blamed for H1N1 surge

    Azlan Othman Feb 10th, 2010

    A total of 67 school classes have been ordered to close temporarily due to Influenza A H1N1 since the start of this year.

    The schools affected range from government primary, secondary schools, religious schools to private schools through the country.

    And the reason for the sudden increase in H1N1 cases, the Director of Health Services, Dr Hjh Maslina bte Hj Mohsin told the Bulletin, could be due to people caring less about the virus, not getting the free vaccination, people neglecting personal hygiene or absence of curbs on mass gatherings.

    ?Praise to Allah, the Ministry of Education has been supportive in our plan and helped us by sending the students to the indoor stadium to get the vaccination. Of course, there were parents who did not give consent for their children to get the (H1N1) jab due to the rumours spread via e-mail and so on.

    ?Those rumours claiming that the vaccine contains mercury are not true,? she said. ?The person who wrote the e-mail did not even know how to spell the word, referring to thimerosal.?

    Meanwhile, 39 H1N1 cases were registered yesterday, according to the Ministry of Health.

    Dr Hjh Maslina said that WHO had stated that over 800 million people had been vaccinated with the same vaccine used in Brunei.

    ?If there?s such case, the WHO too would inform us. Bear in mind that thimerosal has been used in some vaccines since 1930s and if there is a side-effect, I am sure research has been made on it all these years.

    ?We in Brunei are fortunate as such vaccine is given free to citizens and permanent residents as well as expatriates working in Brunei.

    ?We have tried as much as we can to ask the people to be vaccinated but we can?t force the people. Yes, it contains mercury. But it is a different type of mercury,? she added.

    ?192 cases have been reported last week alone. People might delay taking the jab (vaccine). But judging by the figures last week, the urgency is there.?

    Asked about the school and class closure due to H1N1, she said, ?If there is only one student affected in the class, we don?t have to close the whole school, just the class. If there is a confirmed case, the student will take leave for one week following the last exposure. For instance, if the student is infected three days ago, the student gets another four more days of leave?.

    Schools have an H1N1 Action Plan which lists three main actions to be taken by the teachers. First is to inform the school administration staff, then call the Health Promotion Centre and the Administration Unit, Ministry of Education.

    As an additional step, the school principal will ask the teachers to take down the names of students who have just returned from overseas and to give the list to the school administration

    The action plan is not just for H1N1 but also for HFMD. It is routine work for any infectious diseases.

    In 2009, 246 classes throughout the country were ordered to be closed temporarily. Between February 1 and February 8, total positive cases of H1N1 were 233, fluctuating between 39 cases being the highest in a single day and 12 being the lowest.