Monday, December 28, 2009


It does appear that the pandemic declared by WHO and faithfully followed by the MOH, is a non-event. The problem started in Jan-April in Mexico, and we had our beginnings in May 2009. July-Sept were hot months and I remember the numerous meeting and dinner consults to try and formulate strategies. There was the " panic camp " that all was going sour and thousands or millions are going to die. There was the " cool down-it is not so bad camp " that said that we have a problem, but there is no cause for alarm or panic. Just ride it out like our seasonal "flu". Of course, those of us in the " cool-down camp " always wondered if those in the " panic camp" have ulterior motives ( the conspiracy theory ), ranging from USA, WHO and local MOH. Alas, there is no prove of this.
I am only happy to report that since the last posting in Nov 2009 till now, the situation is quiet. Locally, there a still sporadic cases reported in medical centers and GP clinics but nothing in alarming proportions. The MOH rightly asked us to be vigilant ( always good to be vigilant ), but sometimes strong statements about an impending second wave are made. Even the DG has stopped given out number of cases for the last month.
It is important to note that so far, even in the west where winter in upon them and school has opened for winter in late October, we have not seen a second wave. Not in the northern hemispheric countries. Of course in the southern hemispheric countries it is hot summer now and A H1N1 is by and large forgotten.
Looks like there is not second wave, not so far anyway. With globalisation and air transport across continents, whatever happens in one continent, will soon appear in the other continents. Remember, it took 1-2 months for the USA / Mexico swine flu to reach us in the beginning of the year.
Well, that is good news. I suppose we should boost up our suivellence system and be on the guard, not only against A H1N1, but also other forms of infectious disease. In fact, true to our earlier statements, dengue fever has probably killed more Malaysians through the years, then A H1N1. Dengue was a Malaysian health problem since I was in medical school, some 30 years ago, and it is still a problem. Looks like there is just no political will to eradicate dengue, and also not much money to be made on the side. Without discovery of vaccines or new treatment for dengue fever, either against the mosquitoe or the virus, no one seem very interested, although patients continue to die. Our preventive campaigns have met with severe resistance, given that part of the problem may be the government itself and also the wealthy, mighty construction firms that allow large pools of stagnant water in their compounds, and who are " untouchables".

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