Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia

At the heart of Kinta Valley. The capital city of the state of Perak. An opposition stronghold. Factory of brilliant people. Desolated through emigration of its inhabitants to other parts of the country and overseas. Yet... it is forever remembered by its people.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

H5N1 - IT has started !

Last Saturday, I told Ai that there is not much to worry as long as the virus does not make a species barrier jump. The Sunday times in Singapore confirmed human cases in Vietnam, which entirely made my assurance of safety to collapse immediately.

Current updates by WHO:

1. The Ministry of Health in Viet Nam has today officially confirmed three additional cases, including one fatality, of avian influenza H5N1 infection in humans. (3/12/04)

2. Confirmed Human Cases of Avian Influenza A(H5N1) as on 3/2/04
Thailand 4 Cases 3 Deaths
Viet Nam 13 Cases 9 Deaths
Total 17 Cases 12 Deaths

Now, the next 'milestone' for this outbreak would be for the virus to mutate into a form that can cause airborne infection to other humans. It would be a disaster. Probably worse than SARS.

Today, most of my colleagues here would be skipping the Epidemiology class this afternoon. At a time when the importance of public health could not be overemphasised, it is pity that the learning and teaching process of the subject over here in UM is rather stale, and unexciting. There is a gap of interest and perspective between the teachers and the students. It is a pity, really. Public health is actually so darn relevant now.


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