PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Health Ministry has included Ebola screening for those arriving from the Philippines, the United States and Britain.
Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the screening and monitoring had already started.
He said the measures were enforced following reports that five of 15 Filipinos who recently arrived from Sierra Leone were placed under observation while the rest were tested negative of the dreaded disease.
Dr Noor Hisham said that while the outbreak currently seemed focused in West Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had cautioned member states to heighten their preparedness for any eventuality.
"The ministry has activated preparatory measures at major entry points and health institutions," he said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said effective hygiene and infection control procedures, including strict adherence on appropriate personal protective equipment and isolation measures, would go a long way in controlling the spread of the disease.
WHO reported that between July 31 and Aug 1, 163 new Ebola cases - laboratory-confirmed, probable and suspect cases - and 61 deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
Health director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said his department was working closely with the Immigration Department to monitor those coming from the affected countries.
He said health officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport would carry out physical examination on suspected cases and those who fit the case definition stipulated by WHO would be quarantined and sent to the designated hospital.
Sungai Buloh Hospital medical department head and consultant infectious diseases physician Datuk Dr Christopher Lee said there were no anti-virals that had proven to be effective in treating Ebola but supportive care would be provided to help patients.
"The mortality rate is very high but with better supportive care, the chance of recovery is better," he said.
Latest updates on the disease can be found on the Malaysia ministry's website or the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kkmcprc.