This article will be my twelfth in series. I thought it is best I spend sometime to reflect on all the articles that were written and propose a new and fresh look for the coming series.

I would like to thank those who have taken the trouble to send me email, it is one way to confirm that the articles are being read! When I sat out initially to write for Berita MMA, the editor Dr.David Quek did not mention to me that I had to do it every month! My wish then and now is to see participation among us to share and exchange views and ideas. To this, I have proposed that the next series will include a small article with key links (not the many links, like the last article), a cyber-interview column, where we hope to interview key doctors who have been on the Internet to share their experience, thoughts and knowledge, and lastly a cyber-chat column. The cyber-chat column will include e-mail messages from doctors on various issues of the day or on issues raised by the Berita MMA. Of course, articles will be selected based on content and relevance as well as "space" available.

The articles written so far are

Internet for Doctors-Getting Started

Malaysian Medical Sites

Global Internet Roaming and MEDLINE

Information Online

Outbreak in Sarawak


How to read a paper 


World AIDS Day - 1 Dec. 1997

JNC VI and Influenza A (H5N1)

Epidemiology and Statistics

and in this issue


There are two issues I would like to raise. One the enterovirus outbreak that occurred in Sarawak last year, and the other the haze.

The outbreak seems to have stopped but the final outcome as to the results of either the specimen sent to CDC Atlanta or epidemiological analysis is yet to be known. Is this disease outbreak enterovirus 71 or coxsackie? Is it a disease that is endemic which for some unknown reason became an epidemic? What lessons if any do we doctors (preventive and curative) need to know to prevent/treat such a similar episode?

The haze, which was troubling us last year, is back again in Indonesia. Miri was affected with the API index being in the unhealthy level in early February. The API (Down) reading on 16 Feb. 1998 was 177, which is still in the unhealthy level. We are not so affected because the wind is blowing in the opposite direction (not towards Malaysia). We should not be complacent just because there is no haze. This is one situation where no "smoke" does not mean no fire. The El Nino phenomenon has been causing a rather dry and hot spell over Indonesia and even we in Malaysia are not spared. Satellite pictures have shown many new "hot spots" and these have been increasing. On 16 Feb. 1998, at 1416 hrs there were 403 hot spots in Kalimantan alone. The Integrated Forest Fire Management Project (IFFM) which is a joint project between Germany and Indonesia has among other things, monitoring the drought indices for Kalimantan. In the last month alone the index has risen from 400 (low) on Jan. 1, 1998 to almost 1800 (high) on Feb. 5, 1998. Coincidentally the Si Pongi, Indonesias' Fire Prevention mascot looks similar to our Commonwealth mascot. The Commonwealth games are not far away and the situation if not checked can only get worse. If act we must, the time is now. I hope previous "haze" episodes would have given the relevant authorities in all countries concerned enough experience to ensure there is no repeat this time around.

On another note, I have set-up a webpage on "?Rift Valley Fever" at The question mark is because the authorities believe it may not be Rift Valley Fever outbreak alone that is occurring in Kenya.


With that I let your "mouse" or your "keyboard" do the "talking". 

Till next month, "Happy Surfing".



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