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Singapore issues advisory for travellers back from China's bird flu-affected provinces

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Singapore's health ministry on Saturday issued an advisory for travellers returning from China's bird flu-hit provinces to look out for certain symptoms, though it fell short of advising against travelling to these provinces.

The ministry said that travellers who have gone to Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang should look out for symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever and cough.

They are advised to seek early medical attention if ill with such symptoms and inform doctors of their travel history. The ministry also advised travellers to the affected areas in China to remain vigilant, observe good personal hygiene, and try to avoid direct contact with poultry, birds or their droppings.

China has reported 16 cases of human infections with H7N9, including six deaths, in Shanghai, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

"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," the ministry said.

The ministry also said it is in close contact with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its overseas counterparts, and is monitoring the situation closely.

All hospitals here remain vigilant, too, to notify the Ministry of Health 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," it said.

It said that 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.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130409/singapore-issues-advisory-travellers-back-chinas-bird-flu-affected-prov