By Jumiati Rosly
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The influenza A (H1N1) pandemic caused panic worldwide this year, and Malaysia was no exception.
Setting the National Influenza Pandemic Preparation Plan in motion, the health ministry launched a big campaign to create public awareness of H1N1 and impart preventive measures to check its spread.
H1N1 was first detected in April in Mexico, forcing the government to shut down public buildings and public places.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported 622,482 positive cases of H1N1, with 7,826 deaths globally, until Nov 22.Malaysia recorded 77 H1N1-related deaths.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the government would increase the anti-viral stock via a RM20 million allocation.To avoid panic, the health ministry plans to switch to seasonal influenza vaccines which contain H1N1 vaccine by February/March to protect against influenza-like diseases.
Malaysia has ordered 400,000 doses of H1N1 vaccines worth RM14 million, to be received in stages for high risk groups like pregnant women and 18-60 year-olds with chronic diseases, while 200,000 had been set aside for frontline medical staff.