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Johor Bahru: Another five children in the state have been tested positive for diphtheria, including the sister to the two-year-old boy who died from the bacterial infection on Feb 21.

Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said all five children below the age of four were among 52 individuals who previously had contacts or met with the victim, following screenings done by the Johor Health Department.

“Five children including the sister of the victim aged four were screened as they had direct contacts with the victim, or had been around him.

“They were admitted to Sultanah Aminah Hospital yesterday to be isolated after showing symptoms for the infection,” he said at a Press conference at the hospital today.

He said a course of 14-day antibiotics had been administered to the children since Feb 19 and if it worked, three of the children, comprising one boy and two girls, would be allowed to return home.

However, the other two children -- the sister of the victim and another boy, are still being quarantined.

Checks revealed that only the sister of the dead boy has not been vaccinated, while the other four have had their vaccinations.

He explained that the children were tested positive as they lived in the same vicinity as the victim or close to a kindergarten.

“We need to understand that the infection can spread through saliva and sweat that have direct contacts with the patient.

“We conduct screenings for anybody who have had visited the area where the children live and the places they have been to, including private clinics, the hospital and its staff and the kindergarten.”

He said the children were reported to be in a stable condition and steps had been taken to ensure they would not infect the others.

“When a case has been reported, we will look for others who could be tested positive in the community, so that immediate treatments can be given. Apart from that, we will carry out education awareness programme,” he said.

Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal (right) all five children below the age of four were among 52 individuals who previously had contacts or met with the victim, following screenings done by the Johor Health Department. NSTP/ZAIN AHMED
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