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Ministry of Health closely monitoring the influenza A (H7N9) situation
The Ministry of Health (MOH) is closely monitoring the influenza A (H7N9) situation in China. We will work together with other agencies to institute appropriate control measures as the situation evolves.
Assessment of Situation in China
2. Influenza A (H7N9) is known to affect wild birds and poultry. The cases in China are the first known cases of H7N9 infection in humans. Hence, information available on H7N9 infection in humans is still limited.
3. As of 5 April 2013, China reported a total of 16 cases of human infections with influenza A (H7N9), including six deaths, in Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
4. Of the 16 cases, four were reported to have direct contact with poultry or birds before the onset of symptoms. As of 5 April, a total of 624 close contacts of the 16 cases have been identified, and no confirmed cases among the contacts have been reported thus far. Investigations into the source of infection and mode of transmission are ongoing.
5. Thus far, the current cases of human infection with influenza A (H7N9) in China appear to be sporadic and isolated, with no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.
Vigilance in Singapore
6. MOH is in close contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our overseas counterparts, and is monitoring the situation closely to ensure that public health is safeguarded. All hospitals remain vigilant to notify MOH immediately of any suspected cases of avian influenza in individuals who have recently returned from affected areas in China. Learning from our experience with SARS in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009, hospitals are equipped with established processes to manage patients with symptoms of known and emerging infectious diseases to safeguard public health.
7. The WHO does not advise against travel to China at this point in time, as there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. However, returning travellers from affected areas in China (Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang) should look out for signs and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever and cough, and seek early medical attention if they are ill with such symptoms. Individuals should also inform their doctors of their travel history, should they develop these symptoms after returning to Singapore.
8. Travellers to affected areas in China should continue to remain vigilant and observe measures recommended by the local health authorities, including:
– Avoid direct contact with poultry, birds or their droppings, and if contact is made, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
9. MOH will update the public immediately, should there be any new developments. More information on influenza A (H7N9) is available at MOH’s website (www.moh.gov.sg), or call our hotline at 1800-2254122.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Travel Notice: Influenza A (H7N9) situation in China
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to advise against travel to China at this point in time, as there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus. The Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) has issued a press release concerning the influenza A (H7N9) situation in China. For more information, please refer to: http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/pressRoom/pressRoomItemRelease/2013/ministry-of-health-closely-monitoring-the-influenza-a–h7n9–sit.html
Singaporeans residing in, or travelling to affected areas in China (Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang) are encouraged to monitor the local developments through the media and their local contacts and to refer to the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Consulate-General of the Republic of Singapore in Shanghai for updates. Singaporeans should remain vigilant and observe measures recommended by local health authorities, including:
· Avoid direct contact with poultry, birds or their droppings, and if contact is made, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water;
· Cook poultry and eggs thoroughly before eating;
· Wash hands frequently with soap and water (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretion after coughing or sneezing);
· Avoid crowded places and contact with sick people with fever; and
· Wear a mask when you have respiratory symptoms or are feeling unwell.
Singaporeans travelling overseas should eRegister with MFA at http://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/ to facilitate us to contact them in the event of an emergency. They should also ensure that they have appropriate insurance coverage should they decide to travel. Singaporeans who require consular assistance in these affected areas can contact our Consulate-General in Shanghai or the 24hr MFA Duty Office at:
Consulate General of the Republic of Singapore – China (Shanghai)