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Singapore review policy of isolating potential Zika-infected patients

SINGAPORE (Xinhua) -- Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) is reviewing the practice of isolating potential Zika-infected patients, a senior official said on Sunday.

MOH is considering letting suspected Zika-infected patients rest at home while their blood and urine samples are tested, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources and Health Amy Khor Lean Suan was quoted by the Straits Times.

The ministry is also considering sending confirmed cases home to recuperate, but the infected persons are advised to take precautions to prevent themselves from getting bitten by mosquitoes, Khor revealed when she attended a community outreach event at Hong Kah North in western Singapore on Sunday morning.

The suspected of having Zika virus are currently isolated at Communicable Disease Center when they are waiting for the test results, while those found to be Zika-positive are isolated in hospitals.

Khor further explained that isolating the infected may not be effective.

She added Zika-positive patients admitted to hospitals generally have very mild symptoms, and they are discharged within one to two days with negative test results.

Singapore confirmed 26 new cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection as of Saturday, according to a joint statement released by MOH and National Environment Agency (NEA).

The update brought the total number of Zika infections in Singapore to 215 since the first locally transmitted case was reported on Aug. 27.


Two patients in Spain suspected of having Crimea-Congo fever tested negative

MADRID Spain (Xinhua) -- Two patients suspected of having Crimea-Congo fever have given negative test results and do not have the potentially fatal hemorrhaging fever, which has claimed one life in Spain, health authority have confirmed.

The two patients (both women) were taken to hospital on Friday after showing symptoms and gave sampled which health authorities said "fulfil the criteria to be investigated" at the National Center for Microbiology.

One of the women has now been discharged from hospital and although the other is still receiving treatment, she has been removed from isolation, said the Regional Health Authority in the Community of Madrid.

Meanwhile a nurse who is suffering from the illness is still described as "stable but serious condition" and is currently in isolation at the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid.

She became infected while treating a 62-year-old man who died of Crimea-Congo fever on Aug. 25.

The man is thought to have been infected after being bitten by a tick while walking in field close to the town of Avila, northwest of Madrid, in what is the first confirmed case of the illness in Western Europe.

Crimea-Congo fever is a tick-borne illness with a mortality rate of up to 40 percent which is endemic in Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with the blood, secretions and the organs of infected people.

Considerable progress made to contain yellow fever outbreaks: WHO

GENEVA Switzerland (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has said considerable progress have been made to contain the yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following a meeting of WHO Emergency Committee held in Geneva.

The Committee noted the concerted efforts and progress made by affected countries and partners to contain the yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the DRC.

No confirmed cases have been reported in Angola since June 23 and in the DRC since July 12.

Despite there being no confirmation of cases in the Republic of Congo to date, there was concern that intense population movements between the DRC and Congo pose a risk of expansion of the outbreak.

The Committee was reassured to hear that the outbreak in Uganda is now over, and the imported cases in China and Kenya have not led to further transmission.

The Committee noted that the exceptional use of the fractional dose strategy for yellow fever vaccination during the recent campaign in Kinshasa, DRC, achieved very high population coverage.

After discussion and consideration of the information provided, it was the view of the Committee that the current status of the yellow fever outbreaks in Angola and the DRC does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

However, the Committee concluded that the outbreak remains a serious public health event which warrants continued national action and international support.

Furthermore, the imminent onset of the rainy season will intensify vector activity, thus raising subregional risks of yellow fever transmission.




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