Thursday, July 2, 2009

Singapore confirms 95 new cases of H1N1 flu, bringing total to 878 cases

By Pearl Forss/ Lynda Hong, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 02 July 2009 2251 hrs

Tamiflu SINGAPORE: Singapore has confirmed another 95 cases of H1N1 flu on Thursday, bringing the total to 878 so far.

The Health Ministry says 329 patients have been discharged and the rest are recuperating.

Five new cases are from the cluster at Republic Polytechnic, where 4,500 first-year students who had been on a one-week precautionary suspension of classes went back to school on Thursday.

Those who think they have contracted the H1N1 flu are advised to visit polyclinics or pandemic preparedness clinics instead of calling 993 or going to the hospitals if the symptoms are not too serious.

The polyclinics have set up separate queues for suspect H1N1 flu cases. There are also separate waiting areas and pharmacies for flu and fever patients to minimise the spread.

With Singapore transiting into the mitigation phase, only some suspect H1N1 flu cases will be sent for lab testing.

Assistant director of clinical services, SingHealth Polyclinics, Ruth Lim, said: "These will be patients who are severely ill, or special groups of patients who are at higher risk of developing complications. For example, pregnant women, patients with immuno-suppression… those receiving active cancer treatments, or patients who are at the extreme of ages, like if you are a child less than one year old."

Doctors say in many cases, patients do not necessarily have to be treated with Tamiflu, and symptomatic treatment, such as the prescription of antihistamines and cough syrup, works well.

Dr Lim said: "H1N1 flu so far has been mild. Complications have only been seen in patients with underlying medical conditions. If the patients are in the low-risk group, chances are they will recover after a period of rest, even if it is just with symptomatic treatment."

The Health Ministry says doctors should prescribe Tamiflu judiciously, even though Singapore has no shortage of the drug.

Doctors say like antibiotics, the course of Tamiflu should be completed for it to be effective.

And from Friday, Singapore's courtesy mascot, the Singa lion, will don a giant mask to spread the social responsibility message to fight the H1N1 flu.

Twenty life-sized Singas, located at 17 strategic areas in town, will also have a sticker urging the public to wear a mask if coughing, and to see a doctor and rest at home if they have a cold.

- CNA/yt 

From ChannelNewsAsia.com; see the source article here.