Avian Influenza H7N9 (Bird Flu)

Influenza A, H7N9 is one of the strains of avian influenza (bird flu).

There are three types of influenza viruses — A, B, and C. Only types A and B cause significant diseases in humans. Strains of influenza A include A/H1N1 and avian influenza A/H5N1 and A/H7N9.

Avian influenza viruses normally affect poultry (e.g. domesticated chickens, ducks and turkeys). Several strains of H7 viruses have also been found in birds including influenza A/H7N9.

In early 2017, A/H7N9 avian influenza was reported to have caused some cases of severe illness and death in humans in China. These were the first reported cases of this influenza virus in humans. 

MOH Monitors for Potential Outbreaks in Singapore 

MOH has a public health surveillance network to detect threats from infectious diseases, both locally and overseas. It has enhanced its influenza disease surveillance system so that human cases of avian influenza can be detected early. All hospitals remain vigilant and will notify MOH immediately of any suspected human cases of avian influenza.

SFA's Role in Preventing H7N9 Outbreak in Singapore

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has in place a multi-layer risk-mitigation approach to prevent the incursion of avian influenza into Singapore. This includes import conditions for live birds coming into the country and maintaining tight biosecurity on local poultry farms, plus a contingency plan to deal with any avian influenza outbreak. These, along with other measures, such as collaborations with overseas counterparts, help to reduce the risk of avian influenza in Singapore.

Personal Protection Against Avian Influenza Infection 

Basic hygiene practices and food safety measures can prevent the transmission of many infectious diseases, including avian influenza. These include:
Avoiding direct contact with poultry, birds or their droppings, and if contact is made, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Cooking poultry and eggs thoroughly before eating
Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to the toilet or after coughing or sneezing)
Avoiding crowded places and contact with sick people with fever
Wearing a mask when you have respiratory symptoms or are feeling unwell

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