(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): There is panic among parents in Sarawak where a deadly disease, Coxsackie Virus B, has been spreading in the state, predominantly in Sibu with cases also reported in Kuching.
The latest victims of Coxsackie Virus B, an incurable disease which was first detected in the Sibu Division but has now caused health concern statewide, were a nine-month old boy from Sungei Apong and a 10-month old boy from Sibu.
This is what a concerned parent from Kuching posted on the soc.culture.malaysia newsgroup yesterday:
"Until today 2/6/97,15 children's death were related to this deadly disease called Coxsackie.Till now,the authorities has not been able to determine the cause.
"As a parent with 2 kids (2 & 4 yrs),I am very worried about the spread of this deadly disease.
"With such an alarming death rate,I am surprised that the authorities concerned has not come up with clear instruction on how best to avoid getting in contact with the Coxsackie disease.
"Many parents has move their young children to other parts of the state,the richer to other countries such as Australia.
"Isn't it time the local authorities declare the infected areas an epidemic state? Instead the Medical HQ,in a press statement by Dr Kiyu Deputy Medical Director said there is no need to panic! I pose this question to Dr Kiyu ‘if your kids are in danger of contracting an uncurable disease,would you be so calm’?"
The Health Ministry should declare the affected Sarawak divisions as epidemic areas for Coxsackie, which has caused the death of at least 14 children within less than two months and I call on the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng to visit Sarawak without any further delay to show his personal attention and concern.