Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pregnant women, obese people need to take precautions

KUALA LUMPUR: Pregnant women and those who are obese are in the high-risk group to contract the influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Health Ministry's statistics showed that many people in these two categories had been infected and some had even succumbed.

"We do not know why but research done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States had shown that pregnant women were four times more likely to be hospitalised for H1N1, compared with the general population," Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.

He said studies were also being done on why obese people may be at a higher risk from the disease.

"Our initial studies have shown that a majority of the obese who were hospitalised had other co-morbid conditions, thus putting them at a higher risk for the disease and complications."

In view of these findings, Liow appealed to those in these two categories, and those with low immunity to be extra cautious and strictly adhere to social distancing. They were also advised to wear face masks to prevent getting infected in crowded places and to stay away from people who showed symptoms of the disease.

He said those in the vulnerable category must seek immediate treatment if they show symptoms of the disease and doctors must treat them with the anti-viral drug, Tamiflu. - NST

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