Posted: 27 May 2009 1033 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore has confirmed its first case of Influenza A (H1N1). The patient, a 22-year-old Singapore Management University student, is currently being treated at the Communicable Disease Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and is in stable condition. The Singaporean woman was in New York from May 14-24. She arrived back in Singapore from New York on SQ25 on 26 May at 6.30am. She was seated at Row 55. She began to develop a cough while onboard. She passed the thermal scanner uneventfully as she did not have fever then. Later in the morning, she consulted a GP who decided to send her to TTSH via a 993 ambulance, given her travel history. She was immediately admitted for testing. Laboratory confirmation of her infection was made by midnight of 26 May. The patient has been vigilant in monitoring her own condition and had sought immediate medical attention once she realized that she was unwell. Her attending GP, through his quick response in activating the 993 ambulance for the patient, had also helped to minimize the spread of infection from this case. The Health Ministry says it has initiated contact tracing of her close contacts. They will be quarantined and provided with antiviral prophylaxis. Passengers who had travelled in the same flight and were seated in rows 52 to 58 are urged to call the hotline at 1800-333 9999 to enable the MOH to check on their health condition. The MOH adds that all medical practitioners and healthcare institutions should continue to be vigilant to suspect cases. Singapore will continue with temperature screening for passengers entering Singapore at all checkpoints (land, sea and air). All passengers passing through or entering Singapore are given Health Alert Notices on board their flights, advising them to monitor their own health if they have been to affected areas and to seek medical attention immediately if they are not well. Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "We know that sooner or later we will have our first case (of H1N1 flu) and now we do. I suppose we have been lucky -- we have now five weeks since the alert to prepare ourselves, as well as Singaporeans for this eventuality. So there should really be no cause for alarm. “Especially in this case the patient has been most responsible… and the GP is highly commendable. (The GP) made the right judgement -- calling 993 so that within six hours of (the patient’s) touchdown in Singapore, she was isolated in the hospital, so the risk of her causing a spread in Singapore should be very low." Speaking at a labour event on Wednesday, NTUC Chief Mr Lim Swee Say said Singapore is prepared for its first case of the H1N1 virus. He said: "All of us are psychologically prepared for this but the issue here is not so much on when, now that it has happened. I think what we have to focus on is the speed of spreading. What we have to do is ensure that the entire community plays their part." Singaporeans are reminded to maintain high standards of personal hygiene. This means covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and washing your hand frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with respiratory secretions, for example, after sneezing and coughing. Everyone also needs to be socially responsible. This means staying home and avoiding crowded places (including trains, buses, offices), putting on a surgical mask and seeing a doctor if you have flu symptoms. MOH advises those who travelled to affected areas to closely monitor their health and seek treatment as soon as possible should they develop symptoms. Members of the public are also advised to exercise caution over travel to affected areas. In the event that travel is unavoidable, the public is advised to take precautionary measures such as avoiding crowded areas and maintaining high standards of personal hygiene at all times. However, if you are unwell with fever and cough but have no travel history to affected areas, you are also advised to see a doctor and stay at home. MOH is monitoring the situation closely and will update the public should there be any new developments. For more information on Influenza A (H1N1-2009), you can access MOH's website at www.moh.gov.sg, call MOH's hotline at 1800-333 9999, or visit www.flu.gov.sg. - CNA/irH1N1 hits Singapore~ =X Be careful, people !