Acute gastroenteritis outbreak in Pusa under control

Goh Pei Pei

KUCHING: The outbreak of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in Pusa, Betong is expected to be contained soon following the swift action by the state’s Health Department.

Sarawak health director Dr Jamilah Hashim said the department had taken immediate action to address the issue after a few cases of diarrhoea involving children were reported three weeks ago.

“We view the issues seriously, thus, we conducted investigations to identify and track down the cases and hotspots actively,” she said.

The department had identified the areas at risk, namely Kampung Kalok, Skim Penempatan Semula Kalok, Kampung Godam, Kampung Hilir Pusa, Rumah Panjang Garak, Munggu Menggeris, Rumah Panjang Pagu, Meregang, Rumah Panjang Sabai, Batu 8, and Kampung Tengah Pusa, Betong.

“We have alerted the villagers and various seminars and talks have been held to educate the people about the outbreak, and what are the precautionary steps to take and how they can protect and prevent themselves from getting infected,” she said.

“There are (even) banners been displayed at public places where large crowd usually gather to raise awareness and to give them some guidelines,” she added.

“So, it’s unfair to accuse us (the Health Department) of trying to “cover-up and attempt to downplay the seriousness of the issue to hide negligence”. Such a statement (by DAP) is baseless,” she told the New Straits Times today.

Dr Jamilah was responding to accusations by Kevin Yii, a special assistant to state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, stressing that the allegations were untrue.

Yii, in a press conference earlier had claimed that the Health Ministry as well as the state government had done nothing following the outbreak.

He claimed that the authorities had failed to alert the public and was trying to cover-up the whole issue.

Dr. Jamilah said thus far, a total of 12 victims have been hospitalised and another 28 received outpatient treatment. There however, has been one death.

In addition, medical personnel also conducted test to check on the quality of drinking water in the said areas. The results were submitted to the Rural Water Supply Department for the next course of action.