Healthcare centres on alert for H7N9 bird flu virus: MOH

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Chickens are seen at a poultry farm on April 18, 2013 in Liaocheng, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
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Chickens are seen at a poultry farm on April 18, 2013 in Liaocheng, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Singapore’s healthcare institutions remain on heightened alert and are prepared for the possibility of a H7N9 case, the Ministry of Health said Thursday as fears about the new bird flu strain grow.

The MOH said in a statement that seven persons in Singapore have been investigated for H7N9 but that all tested negative.

An expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that the bird flu strain is “one of the most lethal” of its kind.

Since the first infections were announced end-March, China has confirmed 108 cases and 22 deaths.

On Wednesday, Taiwan confirmed its first case of the new bird flu strain, involving a man who had recently returned from working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou.

MOH said it will continue to monitor the situation closely for further developments to ensure that public health is safeguarded.

It also said travellers to affected areas reporting the bird flu virus 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; and
  • Wear a mask when you have respiratory symptoms or are feeling unwell.
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