Singapore at low risk of ebola outbreak: Ministry of Health

Singapore at low risk of ebola outbreak: Ministry of Health

SINGAPORE - Singapore is at low risk of having an ebola outbreak and residents should not to be alarmed by reports of ebola cases overseas, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday.


Get the full story from  The Straits Times .

Here is the full statement from the Ministry of Health, issued on July 31, 2014:

BACKGROUND

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever is a rare disease which causes severe, often fatal illness in humans. There have been several Ebola outbreaks in Africa since EVD first appeared in 1976. Currently there is an outbreak of EVD in West Africa, which was first reported in late March 2014. As of 23 July 2014, WHO reported a total of 1,201 cases including 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. On 25 July 2014, the Ministry of Health in Nigeria reported that a 40 year old Liberian male, who had flown from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria, and who died on 25 July 2014 tested positive for EVD.

EVD is transmitted through direct contact with blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons or animals, or by contact with contaminated objects. The incubation period of EVD varies from 2 to 21 days. Patients are not contagious during the incubation period and become contagious once they begin to show symptoms which include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, joint pain, headache and sore throat. This can be followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, stomach pain, red eyes, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases bleeding. There is no licensed vaccine or specific treatment for EVD and severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.

HEALTH ADVISORY

The public here is advised not to be alarmed by reports of Ebola cases overseas. The Ministry of Health's (MOH) current assessment is that Ebola poses a low public health risk to Singapore since person-to-person transmission results from direct contact with bodily fluids of those infected, and there is low travel connectivity to West Africa where the current outbreak remains limited to.

MOH is in close contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our counterparts internationally, and will continue to monitor the situation. Our hospitals will be vigilant in testing for Ebola where clinically indicated, such as in patients with the symptoms and a compatible travel history. All suspected and confirmed cases will be isolated. In addition, the Ministry will conduct contact tracing and all close contacts will be quarantined, if a case is detected.

To reduce the risk of exposure to Ebola, we would like to advise Singaporeans travelling to affected areas to maintain vigilance and adopt the following general health precautions when overseas:

- Practice frequent hand washing (e.g. after going to toilet, or when hands are soiled);

- Avoid direct contact with with blood, secretions or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, as well as environments that have become contaminated with these infectious fluids such as soiled clothing, bed linen, or used needles;

- Avoid participating in burial ceremonies which require direct contact with the body of a deceased infected person.

- Avoid contact with wild animals, including bats, monkeys, apes, chimpanzee and gorillas, whether alive or dead, including their raw or undercooked meat;

- Returning travellers from affected areas or travellers who suspect that they have been exposed to Ebola virus should seek immediate medical attention and mention their recent travel to the attending physician if they develop any disease symptoms while travelling in or within 3 weeks of being in any of the areas.

 

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