10 September 2010 -- On August 10 the WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan announced that that the world is no longer in Phase 6 of the Influenza Pandemic Alert and the H1N1 influenza event has moved into the post-pandemic period. The influenza situation update will no longer be posted on the Disease Outbreak News website. The global influenza programme will continue to monitor the influenza activity worldwide on a weekly basis and every two weeks a WHO influenza update will be published on the link below.
This means that we are moving into a situation where:
- The H1N1 virus has spread to all countries,
- Many people in all age groups have developed some immunity to the virus,
- No large and unusual summer outbreaks have occurred in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres, and
- Seasonal influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B viruses are now being reported in many countries.
Based on this overall picture, the WHO felt that the evidence is strong that the recent influenza pandemic patterns are transitioning towards seasonal patterns of influenza. However, the H1N1 (2009) virus is expected to continue to circulate as a seasonal influenza strain for many years.
Hence, regardless of whether the world is in a pandemic situation or not, individuals are advised to continue to take prudent steps to reduce their risk of infection. Such steps include:
- Vaccination against influenza, especially for those recognized to be at higher risk for severe illness, including young children, pregnant women and those with respiratory or chronic health conditions. WHO continues to recommend vaccination against the virus as the best protection. The trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine which includes the H1N1 strain will provide the broadest protection. This trivalent vaccine is already available in the Malaysian market and can be given to people above 6 months of age. The Ministry of Health will ensure adequate supply of this vaccine in the market and check against any excessive profiteering in its provision.
- Continuing to practice hand and respiratory hygiene.
Our Health Authorities will:
- Continue routine respiratory disease surveillance and reporting, as well as monitoring and investigating unusual disease patterns.
- Monitor the H1N1 (2009) virus for important genetic, antigenic or functional changes such as anti-viral drug sensitivity.
- Notify WHO of any sustained transmission of anti-viral resistant H1N1 or any notable changes in the severity, epidemiological and clinical characteristics of H1N1 infection.
- Continue prevention and control efforts, including vaccination against influenza.
- Our doctors have been advised to continue following WHO?™s guidelines for clinical management.
- Early recognition and appropriate treatment remain important.
- Patients who have severe or deteriorating influenza, and those who are at higher risk of severe or complicated influenza, should be treated with oseltamivir (TamifluÂ®) as soon as possible.
Minister of Health's Office -11 August 2010
Guidelines to Employers on Employment Issues relating to Outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1)
Recommendations by MEF
1.Quarantine Order - In hospital or at home
Employees required by the Government to be quarantined either in hospital or at home, will be deemed to be on sick leave and as such the quarantine period would be treated as hospitalization leave. Where am employee has exhausted his eligibility to paid hospitalization leave, employers are advised to exercise their deicretion and compassion to grant additional hospitalization leave with pay.
2. Employers requesting employees to stay away from work without the qusarantine order
Where an employer requests an employee to stay away from work as a precautionary measure, especially where the employee has returned from a country affected by influenza A (H1N1) or has family members affected by the Influenza A (H1N1), the employer may consider the following measure:
- The employer may agree with the employee for the employee to take half day's annual leave while th employer make up the other half day's pay.
The employer with the affected employee to pay not less than half day's pay during the specific period the employee is away from work; and
Employer and employees/union may by agreement make some other arrangement for the employees absence due to Influenza A (H1N1)
3. Employers requesting employees to work from home
Where employees have returned from overseas or are at risk of contracting Influenza A (H1N1), and where the employer has requested the employee to work from home for a specific period as a precautionary measure, such employee should be paid his full salary during such period
4. Employees who do not wish to work on their won accord as a precautionary measure due to Influenza A (H1N1)
Employee who choose not to work on their own accord for fear of contracting Influenza A (H1N1), employers are advised to adopt a flexible and enlightened approach by allowing employees to take their annual leave. For employees who have exhausted their annual leave, companies may consider granting unpaid leave.
5. Travel Advisory
Employers are advised not to require their employees to travel on non essential work matters to the countries affected by the Influenza A (H1N1). Employees whould also be advised not to travel to the countries affected by Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak for any personal reasons for the duration of the outbreak of the Influenza A (H1N1).
About the treatment
1. What drugs are available for treatment?
Currently the Ministry of Health Malaysia has antiviral for treatment of Influenza A (H1N1)
However, most of the previously reported Influenza A (H1N1) cases recovered fully from the disease without requiring specific medical attention with antiviral drugs
2. Will the antiviral protect a person from being infected?
The antiviral are used for treatment of a person infected with the virus. It is not a vaccine that creates immunity against the infection. Persons not exposed to the virus are advised not to take the antivirals because it would be required to consume it for a long time and since it is a very potent medication can thus cause ill effects.
LATEST INFLUENZA A H1N1 NEWS IN MALAYSIA
As at August 21, 2010,
A (H1N1) influenza confirmed cases rose 25 percent in a week; from last week's 51, in 8 to 14 August increased to 64. Malaysia's cumulative A (H1N1) cases increased to 15,584 cases, while the death toll still remained at 92.
Treatment for flu-like case on patients decreased by 8.9%, a decrease from last week's 563 to 513 people. There are 60 government hospitals in Malaysia and 9 private hospitals are having treatment of flu-like cases in a total of 360. of which only 34 or 9.4% of laboratory-confirmed by influenza A.
While the global A-type influenza infection has entered the final stage, The Director General of Ministry of Health reminded the public not be taken lightly, still need to take control and preventive measures, to always take steps as outlined by the Ministry besides practising good and healthy lifestyles; having enough rest and sleep; drinking enough water; and have good eating habits. Individuals with high risks must seek treatment immediately, because the spread of this germ is expected to last for many years as seasonal flu.
The Health Minister is satisfied with the level of awareness among the public towards the pandemic. He also said that Malaysia would continue to enhance antiviral and immunoglobulin treatment to increase patients' resilience against infection.