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Old 8th April 2013, 07:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Health advisory for travellers returning from H7N9 affected areas

Health advisory for travellers returning from H7N9 affected areas



The Straits Times | Sun, Apr 7 2013


The Ministry of Health said in a press release on Saturday that travellers who have gone to Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang should seek early medical attention if they are ill with such symptoms and doctors of their travel history.

Here is a statement from MOH:

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

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.

As of April 5, China reported a total of 16 cases of human infections with influenza A (H7N9), including six deaths, in Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

Of the 16 cases, four were reported to have direct contact with poultry or birds before the onset of symptoms. As of April 5, 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.

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

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.

MOH's advice

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.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent H7N9. At this time, we do not know the source of this virus. So this is the standard advice to travellers and those living in China to follow good hand hygiene and food safety practices and to avoid contact with animals.

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

- 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

- Wear a mask when you have respiratory symptoms or are feeling unwell

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.
Source: http://www.relax.com.sg/relax/news/1...ted_areas.html

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