KUALA LUMPUR: There has been an increase in the number of influenza cases in several states, mostly involving schoolchildren.
In Penang, the number of schoolchildren infected increased to 178 in 87 primary and secondary schools compared to 161 in 77 schools on Wednesday.
State education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said they included 159 pupils from 68 primary schools and 19 from 19 secondary schools.
He said seven were still hospitalised while the rest were quarantined in their homes.
In Perak, students from 47 schools in nine of the 12 districts have been affected by flu, compared to only five districts on Wednesday.
The total number of victims in the state rose to 79 compared to 57 previously.
An Education Department spokesman said the affected districts were Kinta (34 cases), Bagan Datuk (17), Larut, Matang and Selama (12), Manjung (eight), Kuala Kangsar (four), and one each in Perak Tengah, Kerian, Hilir Perak and Batang Padang.
However, SM Sains Teluk Intan (Semesti) in the Bagan Datuk district is still the only school which has been closed after 10 students tested positive for H1N1 since Saturday.
In Selangor, statistics from the Education Department showed that 548 students from 194 schools had symptoms of influenza-like illnesses (ILI).
“The public should not panic as the situation is under control. There have only been viral infections, not an epidemic,” a spokesman said after a meeting of the state Influenza A management and control meeting today.
In Johor, two babies aged nine months were among nine children confirmed infected with Influenza A and receiving treatment at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru over the last few days.
The chairman of the Education, Health and Human Resource Committee, Aminolhuda Hassan, said there was a drop in the number of cases compared to 13 children being treated at the hospital on Wednesday.
Aminolhuda said there were eight other adult victims receiving follow-up treatment.
The education ministry said in a statement it would take steps to control the spread of the disease, including separating students with signs of infection, before contacting their parents to seek immediate treatment for them at clinics or hospitals.