Viral disease scare in Port Dickson army camp

Viral disease scare in Port Dickson army camp

PETALING JAYA - Two army trainees are down with meningoencephalitis and 10 others have been quarantined at the Army Training Centre in Port Dickson.

Health authorities are taking the measures to contain the situation, including disinfecting the facility.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the two army trainees who were down with the disease had been in the camp for a month.

The roommates who suffered from fever and cramps on their feet received early treatment from the Armed Forces hospital, before being referred to the Port Dickson hospital on April 14.

One of the trainees is now being treated at the intensive care unit at the Port Dickson hospital and the other in the same unit in Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

"The two are reported to be in stable condition and the ministry is investigating the actual source of the infection," he said yesterday.

Meningoencephalitis is an inflammation of both the brain and the meninges, usually caused by a bacterial infection.

Those infected will experience symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea and vomiting.

Meningoencephalitis generally occurs due to infection of bacteria or virus or may be caused by protozoa (a group of parasitic single-celled organisms).

Dr Noor Hisham said the risk of getting infected was greater in high density areas such as army camps, hostels and prisons.

"The chance of the cluster at the training centre infecting the general public is extremely low," he assured.

A health and medical team was sent to the camp and 16 other trainees who shared the same rooms as the two patients were checked, said Dr Noor Hisham.

Ten of the trainees suffered from fever, cough and headache and have been placed in a separate room while being treated.

"We have taken clinical samples from them which has been sent to the national public health laboratory in Sungai Buloh to be tested. Apart from disinfecting the camp area, the team in Port Dickson is monitoring the health of trainees and trainers.

"Those who shows symptoms will be isolated and be given treatment. If need be, they will be referred to hospital for further checks and treatment," he said, adding that masks were also distributed to everyone at the training centre.

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