DG Health: tests on asymptomatic people should only be carried out in specific cases


PETALING JAYA: Widespread screening for Covid-19 in asymptomatic individuals is currently not recommended, said the Director General of Health.

In a tweet on Tuesday July 6, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (Photo) cited the latest World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which recommended that testing of asymptomatic people be done in specific cases and not en masse.

“Screening asymptomatic people can be informative in such cases as tracking high-risk groups, such as contacts of confirmed or probable cases, or screening healthcare workers and long-term care facilities frequently exposed to the disease. risk of infection.

“Large-scale testing of the asymptomatic population is not currently recommended, due to the lack of evidence on the impact and cost-effectiveness of such approaches and the approach could risk diverting resources from indications for higher priority tests.” , did he declare.

He also said the WHO, however, recommended that all people who meet the suspected case definition for Covid-19 be tested for the virus, regardless of their vaccination status or history of illness.

A suspected case of Covid-19 is defined as a person who meets both clinical and epidemiological criteria.

Clinical criteria include acute onset of fever and cough, or three of the following symptoms: fever, cough, fatigue, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, cold, chest tightness, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, altered mental state.

Epidemiological criteria include living or working in areas at high risk of virus transmission, traveling to a community transmission area within 14 days of symptom onset, or working in any facility. health.

There have been criticisms that Malaysian authorities have not done enough testing, with the country’s test positivity rate hovering between 7% and 8%.

The country’s test positivity rate, which indicates the portion of positive results out of total Covid-19 samples tested, is above the WHO benchmark of 5%.

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