1. The Ministry of Health Malaysia has reported its first imported human case of avian influenza A/H7N9 in Kota Kinabalu. The Ministry of Health (MOH) Singapore is closely monitoring this latest development and is in close contact with our counterparts.
2. The public health risk to Singapore remains low as the characteristics of H7N9 in human infections have not changed. There is currently no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus. [Please see “Background” for more information.]
3. Our hospitals remain vigilant to test for H7N9 and other avian influenza where clinically indicated, such as in patients with serious respiratory illness and a compatible travel history. All suspected and confirmed cases will be isolated. In addition, if a case is detected, MOH will conduct contact tracing and all close contacts will be placed under surveillance.
4. Health advisories are in place at our border checkpoints for incoming travellers from areas affected by avian influenza, as well as for outgoing travellers to these affected areas.
5. To reduce the risk of exposure to avian influenza, we would like to advise Singaporeans travelling to affected areas to maintain vigilance and adopt the following measures when overseas:
· Avoid contact with poultry, birds and other wild animals, and visiting live poultry markets. If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap; and
· Adopt good food safety and hygiene practices and avoid consuming under-cooked meats and eggs
6. Individuals should wear a mask and seek medical attention promptly if they become unwell with fever and cough while travelling in or if they had recent travel history to any areas reporting human cases of avian influenza. Please inform the doctor of the areas that they have travelled to.
7. The following general health precautions will help to prevent the spread of respiratory infections:
· Practise frequent hand washing (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretion after coughing or sneezing);
· Avoid close contact with persons suffering from acute respiratory infections (e.g. someone who is coughing).
8. H7N9 infection is transmitted to humans by direct exposure to infected live or dead poultry or birds, or indirectly through exposure to environments contaminated by infected poultry or birds, such as in a farmyard or market setting. There is currently no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
13 FEBRUARY 2014