The Star, May 10, 1999

Get admitted, Seelong farm hands urged

Seven must be admitted as precaution

JOHOR BARU: The Health Ministry has appealed to the seven Seelong pig farm workers to admit themselves to the Kulai hospital for observation as a precaution.

Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said a special ward had been set up at the hospital to monitor the health of the six orang asli and an Indonesian who were working at the farm.

He said that although the farm's two owners and the workers have been tested negative for Nipah virus, they should be admitted for at least two weeks.

He said this was a precautionary measure.

Chua said if they showed symptoms of infection such as headache, drowsiness or fever, they would then be sent to the Sultanah Aminah hospital for further medical tests.

"We know where to locate the farm owners and even if they do not want to be admitted, they understand that they must go to the hospital upon showing any signs of infection.

"But it will be difficult for the authorities to keep track of the health of the farm hands as they are not locals.

"Unless they are admitted, we will not be able to tell if they are infected.

"The virus has an incubation period of between eight to 14 days," he told reporters after launching the World Red Cross/Red Crescent Day celebrations here yesterday.

He said that apart from these group of people, others who have been in direct contact with the pigs should also go to the hospital for check-ups.

Chua said to date, blood samples have been taken from 943 people who have been known to be in contact with pigs from 81 farms in Johor.

Samples were also taken from workers at 108 slaughter houses.

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