SINGAPORE - Hospitals in Singapore are on the alert for any cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) following Malaysia's first confirmed victim of this infectious disease.
A Ministry of Health (MOH) statement on April 16 said it is "closely monitoring this latest development and is in close contact with our (Malaysian) counterparts".
It added that while Singapore has not seen any Mers-CoV cases here, "given today's globalised travel patterns, the possibility of an imported case here cannot be ruled out".
Local hospitals are testing all patients with severe respiratory illness and who have been to the Middle East recently.
While it noted the risk of an outbreak of Mers-CoV here is low since the virus is not known to pass from person to person in a sustained manner, the ministry nevertheless said: "All suspected and confirmed cases will be isolated and managed under strict airborne infection control precautions.
"If a case is detected, MOH will conduct contact tracing when appropriate, and all close contacts will be placed under quarantine."
It also has health advisories at the airport for travellers arriving from or going to countries which have Mers-CoV cases.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore is working with travel agents to ensure the advisory is given to umrah and haj pilgrims.
There is no travel advisory against going to such places, but travellers should vaccinate themselves against influenza and meningitis, it advised. Older people and those with chronic medical conditions should also vaccinate themselves against pneumococcal infections.
This article was published on April 17 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.