It is the time of the year again. January is the beginning of a new school semester in Malaysia for the year 2020.
However, for the last couple of days, the local news were quite concerning.
Have you seen the H1N1 in Malaysia latest news?
The New Strait Times reported on 10th January 2010:
“A one-year-old girl in Temerloh died late last month after testing positive for Influenza A, also known as H1N1”
The News Strait Times reported on 8th January 2020:
“Asian countries are ramping up checks at their entry points following an outbreak of a mysterious viral pneumonia, which has affected scores of people in Wuhan, China.”
The Malay Mail reported on 7th January 2020:
“A woman participating in campaigning in the Kimanis parliamentary by-election here has tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1).”
If you are a parent, should you be concern of the latest news about H1N1 influenza A in Malaysia?
I have 2 daughters age 6 and 8 years old going to kindergarten and primary school…yes, I am concern.
H1N1 Influenza A guideline in Malaysia
There was a guideline published by Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2009 titled Garis Panduan Pengendalian Influenza A (H1N1) Di Klinik Kesihatan.
In the report, it listed down the definition of Influenza-like illness which is:
“History of high fever with temperature > 38°C AND one or more of the following respiratory symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, body ache, sore throat.”
There is also a section call the Home Assessment Tool for Parents and Caregivers.
In the section, it stated that children should be brought to the nearest hospital for further assessment if they developed the following symptoms and signs:
- Lethargy or poor oral intake.
- Change in mental status or behavior eg. drowsiness , irritability.
- Signs of dehydration: sunken eyes, dry tongue, absence of tears during crying or poor urine output.
- Increasing respiratory rate: fast breathing, noisy breathing, presence of chest recession (chest in-drawing).
- Persistent fever.
For all the parents out there, if you notice the above symptoms on your child, don’t wait and bring them to a clinic or government hospital to do an Influenza A and B test immediately.
If you want to read the MOH H1N1 Malaysia guideline, click here.
What is influenza?
Do you know what is influenza?
Many people know of the word flu or influenza, but most of us do not know exactly what it is.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO):
It is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by the influenze virus.
There are 4 types of seasonal influenza viruses. They are:
1) Influenza A
Influenza A viruses are further classified into subtypes according to the combinations of the haemagglutinin (HA) and the neuraminidase (NA), the proteins on the surface of the virus.
Currently circulating in humans are subtype A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) influenza viruses.
2) Influenza B
Influenza B are not classified into subtypes, but can be broken down into lineages.
Currently circulating influenza type B viruses belong to either B/Yamagata or B/Victoria lineage.
3) Influenza C
Influenza C viruses are detected less frequently and usually cause mild infections, therefore do not present public health importance.
4) Influenza D
Influenza D viruses primarily affect cattle and are not known to infect or cause illnesses in people.
How to detect Influenza A and B infection?
The detection of Influenza A and B infection can be done with a Rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT).
A RIDT detects influenza viral antigens using respiratory tract specimens. In other words, you will need to get a swab sample from the inside of your nose.
The test can detect and differentiate between type influenza A and B viruses, but do not specifically identify or differentiate subtypes of influenza A viruses.
However, the cost of conducting the RIDT varies from private to government medical centers.
The process to test for Influenza A and B is actually quite fast. You can know the test results within 15 mins from the test strip.
If you want to learn more about the test procedure, check out the YouTube video below.
To watch the test procedure video, click here.
As soon as a positive result becomes visible on the test strip, the following is how you interpret it:
- One blue line in the lower part of the result area = influenza A positive
- One blue line in the middle part of the result area = influenza B positive
- Two blue lines in the result area = influenza A and B positive
Above is a picture shared with me from a friend. Her daughter was tested positive for both Influenza A and B infection and needed special antibiotic treatment.
Taking precaution against H1N1 outbreak in Malaysia
Will there be a H1N1 outbreak in Malaysia?
Hopefully, there will not be an Influenza A outbreak in Malaysia.
Having said that, if you are a parent, it is best to take precaution to strengthen our immune system especially our marcophages.
Marcophages are a type of white blood cells of our immune system and by keeping them active, they will do a better job at killing pathogenic viruses that entered our body.
I will write another article on marcophages in my future blog post.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope it was informative and helpful for you.