A current total of 438 students in Perak have been identified to be suffering from an Influenza Like-Illness (ILI) according to the Perak Health Department.

"The number is a slight increase from 414 students (on Saturday)," the state health department said in a statement.

Numbers increased over span of few days

News of the ILI cluster in Perak surfaced last week, after 273 students from as many as five schools were reported to have suffered from symptoms of flu, sore throat, cough as well as headaches, muscle aches, joint pains and lethargy.

"A total of 29 students (16 male, 13 female) are being quarantined at the school's hostel while the rest are confined at their homes,” said Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon at the time. “So far, they are in stable condition. Most of them were complaining of fever, cough, body ache and sore throat.”

The number of cases has since risen to 438 students as of last night, affecting 225 school children from Sekolah Menengah Raja Perempuan Taayah, 115 students from Sekolah Tunku Abdul Rahman (STAR), 82 students from Sekolah Menengah Abdul Rahman Talib (SMART) in Teluk Intan, and three and 13 respectively from Sekolah Kebangsaan Klebang Jaya and Kolej Vokasional Slim River.

Out of the total, 304 students have been quarantined at their hostels while three are admitted and quarantined at a hospital ward, according to the statement by the Perak health department.

"A total of 15 throat swab specimens were taken and sent to the Public Health Laboratory in Sungai Buloh. The state Health Department medical officers are monitoring the condition of these students and they are not allowed to leave the hostel at this moment," Mah also said last week.

To date, six of the samples have been tested positive for Influenza B, and four for Influenza A (H3).

No unusual trend of ILI, reassured Noor Hisham

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working with the Perak State Health Department to closely monitor the ILI cluster, said Health Director General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah last week, adding that the Health Ministry is taking precautionary measures to ensure that the illness does not spread to other students.

The Health Ministry has also advised the public to ensure good personal hygiene and proper hand washing practices, while those with ILI symptoms have been advised to rest at home and avoid public areas to prevent the spread of disease, or to wear a face mask should they be out in public.

Noor Hisham has urged the public not to panic, reassuring that there has not been any unusual trend of ILI in the country. However, at-risk individuals such as young children, the elderly, and those with chronic diseases have been encouraged to receive the influenza vaccine as a precautionary measure. MIMS

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