Friday, 4 July 2014

Girl, 2, is latest Japanese Encephalitis victim

GEORGE TOWN: SALASIAH Chik is a very worried grandmother as one of her granddaugters is down with Japanese Encephalitis (JE).

Fortunately, 29-month-old Norain Nasuha Mohd Shukri, Penang’s latest and third JE victim, is recovering from the mosquito- borne disease.

However, Salasiah, is worried that her granddaughter would suffer a similar fate as Muhammad Ammar Muqrish Zulkifli, who was diagnosed with JE in May.

Ammar, 12, from Kampung Selamat in Tasek Gelugor, has recovered but is suffering from complications caused by JE. They include fever, seizures and slight brain damage.

“Yes, I am worried for my granddaughter,” said Salasiah, 72, at her house in Bagan Jermal, Butterworth, yesterday.

Relating her ordeal, she said Norain’s parents admitted her to Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sungai Petani, Kedah, on June 13 after she failed to recover from a prolonged fever.

“We were worried she could be infected by dengue and were devastated when Norain was diagnosed with JE by Penang Hospital doctors.”

Norain’s parents declined to talk to the press when met at Penang Hospital.

Meanwhile, state Health Department director Datuk Dr Lailanor Ibrahim said the toddler was undergoing rehabilitative treatment, including physiotherapy, and was responding well to treatment.

He said Norain was confirmed positive with JE last Tuesday, 11 days after her parents admitted her for severe nausea and fever.

He said health inspectors had started investigations on possible causes for the latest JE case, considering the area where the toddler lives with her parents was a well-maintained neighbourhood in Bagan Jermal, near Butterworth.

Dr Lailanor said the department had never tried to hide JE cases from the public.

He said it was standard operating procedure for the department to ascertain cases before sharing information with the public.

“This is our practice,” he said, when asked to comment on state Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin’s complaint that the Health Ministry had failed to inform the state authorities on the three JE cases detected in the state.

On Wednesday, Dr Afif claimed that the state authorities were only aware of the JE detected on a 12-year-old pupil from the media.

Dr Afifi also claimed that the state Veterinary Department was kept in the dark until the case was reported by the press.

Dr Lalianor said the department was merely acting according to standard practices and was not hiding any information.

He said the dissemination of information on serious cases, including JE, must be properly handled to avoid unnecessary anxiety and fear among the public.

“We are not hiding any information. However, with sensitive information like this we will wait for the ministry to make the announcement.



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