Over 160 participants from various universities and the health industry attended the annual seminar on tropical medicine and infectious diseases organised by UniKL Royal College of Medicine Perak, Ipoh.
Focusing on the management, prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, the one-day seminar was held at Syeun Hotel on Thursday, July 28.
“The theme is timely and of great interest to clinicians, scientists and academicians. New and recurring viral infections like Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes was detected in Brazil in May 2015. Since then the virus has been detected in 20 other countries in Latin America. This virus can spread to other regions through international travel,” Associate Professor Dr Cheah Tong Soon, the organising chairman stated.
“At present, some of the notorious tropical diseases like dengue, malaria, tuberculosis, Japanese Encephalitis, filariasis, leptospirosis and Nipah virus infection can be found in our region and country,” said Associate Professor Dr Syed Rahim Syed Hamid, Dean of Faculty of Medicine, UniKL Royal College of Medicine Perak, Ipoh.
Among the topics of interest discussed during the seminar included Zika virus, status of HIV/AIDS in Malaysia, potential emergence of viral infections during the current El Nino phenomenon, hospital-acquired infection, zoonotic diseases, food safety and current trends in vaccination.
Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, the Executive Councillor for Health, Public Transport, Non-Islamic Affairs, National Integration and New Villages, explained, “Infectious diseases are a leading cause of illness and death throughout the world. The enormous diversity of these microbes, combined with their ability to adapt and evolve in changing populations, environments, practices and technologies, offers a serious threat to public health. It will, undoubtedly, have an impact on our efforts to prevent and control them.
“I’m told that lately there are some who reject vaccination. This is something the medical fraternity worries about. Infectious diseases, which have been eradicated via vaccination, have now resurfaced. Doubts or inquiries on vaccination should be clarified before jumping to conclusions and rejecting it outrightly,” Mah told reporters during the media conference that followed.
He reminded outstation participants to savour the taste of famous Ipoh street food and explore the city which has been listed as the sixth must-visit destination in Asia by world renowned travel-guide book, Lonely Planet.