Ministry watchful for mysterious pneumonia infection in Indonesia

Ministry watchful for mysterious pneumonia infection in Indonesia

Photo Doc. An infant under medical treatment in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, after he suffered from pneumonia due to smog that blanketed the city in September 2019. (ANTARA PHOTO/Jessica Helena Wuysang/aww/15/sh)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government will conduct surveillance at hospitals across Indonesia as a precautionary measure against a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has sickened dozens in central China since late December last year.

Director General of Disease Control and Prevention of the Health Ministry Anung Sugihantono noted in a statement here on Wednesday that the ministry had tasked officials in all health facilities in Indonesia to take precautionary measures against a possible new, unidentified viral pneumonia illness.

The ministry has instructed hospitals to conduct early detection, prevention, and quick response for patients found to be symptomatic with pneumonia akin to the case in Wuhan, China.

The government will adopt requisite measures to offer medical treatment and quarantine the patient along with conducting investigation to prevent an outbreak, he stated.

The ministry has also instructed all stakeholders to prevent the spread of the unknown virus through foreign passengers, including those from China, through airport, seaport, and cross-border posts, by activating body thermal scanners.

The ministry has steadily monitored the development of laboratory testing on patients with pneumonia to ready the necessary measures in Indonesia.

A total of 59 cases of unknown viral pneumonia have been reported in the city of Wuhan, central China, with seven patients in a critical condition. All patients are undergoing treatment in quarantine, and no deaths have been reported.

The outbreak came to light in late December and triggered fears in China of a possible resurgence of SARS, an acute viral respiratory illness first reported in the country in 2002 that caused a pandemic that ripped through Asia.

However, the Wuhan authorities have excluded the possibility of SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and bird flu.

According to the Wuhan health commission, some of the patients were employed at a seafood market in the city that also sold other live animals, including birds, rabbits, and snakes.

No obvious evidence of human-to-human transmission of the disease has yet been found. The World Health Organization (WHO) has closely monitored the case in Wuhan. Related news: Health ministry confirms 110,921 dengue fever cases until Oct 2019

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