Health cases related to haze on the increase


THE number of asthma cases saw an increase of 3.5% to 1,265 cases for the week of Sept 15 to Sept 21 compared to 1,222 cases in the previous week, due to the current haze blanketing most parts of the country since a few weeks ago.

Ministry of Health (MoH) DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said conjunctivitis cases also rose 51.4% to 403 cases in the same week, compared to 266 cases the week before.

“However, cases involving upper respiratory tract infection showed a decline of 9.6% (8,258 to 7,465 cases) in the same period,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said his ministry is constantly monitoring the development of health diseases related to haze through its 33 Haze Sentinel Facilities around the country.

He advised the public, especially those in the high-risk groups such as the elderly and children, and those with existing respiratory related ailments such as asthma, bronchitis and allergies, to take appropriate preventive measures to limit the effects of the current haze.

For more information on preventive measures, members of the public can visit MoH’s official website at Meanwhile, two of the five flights scheduled at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (LTSAS) in Ipoh, Perak, yesterday were cancelled due to the haze.

LTSAS manager Mohd Ali Osman said the cancellations involved AirAsia flight movements for the Johor Baru-Ipoh-Singapore and Singapore-Ipoh-Johor Baru routes scheduled for mid-day yesterday.

“The visibility range as of 7.30am today was 3,000m,” he said in a statement yesterday. Mohd Ali added that 480 passengers were affected by the flight cancellations.

According to the Air Pollutant Index Management System, the air pollutant index (API) at four stations in Perak, namely Seri Manjung; Pegoh, Ipoh; Tasek, Ipoh; and Taiping at 7am yesterday was at an unhealthy level, while in Tanjung Malim, it was at moderate level.

An API reading of between 0 and 50 is categorised as good, 51-100 (moderate), 101 to 200 (unhealthy), 201 to 300 (very unhealthy) and above 300 (hazardous).