Nigerian woman sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital does not have Ebola, says hospital

Some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion is revealed in this undated handout colourised transmission electron micrograph (TEM) obtained by Reuters on Aug 1, 2014. The Nigerian woman who was sent from Gleneagles Hospital to the Communicable Diseases Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on Thursday morning does not have Ebola as first feared.
PHOTO: Nigerian woman sent to Tan Tock Seng Hospital does not have Ebola, says hospital

Professor Philip Choo, TTSH's chief executive officer, told The Straits Times that it was a false alarm and that she has since been discharged.

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Singapore ramps up safeguards against Ebola

By Kash Cheong

SINGAPORE - Singapore is taking more measures to guard against Ebola, amid the world's worst outbreak of the deadly disease.

Nationals of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria - where most cases have occurred - will be issued individual health advisories when they come through Singapore's immigration checkpoints, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday.

The advisory says that if travellers become unwell with Ebola symptoms, such as sudden high fever, stomach pains, diarrhoea, vomiting, rash or bleeding within three weeks of being in Ebola-hit areas of West Africa, they should see a doctor early at any clinic in Singapore.

They are also reminded to inform the doctor of where they have been.

The ministry will also put up similar health advisory posters at Changi Airport's arrival halls.

MOH maintained, however, that the disease still poses a low public health risk to Singapore.

This is because it can transmit from an infected person only if there is direct contact of bodily fluids. The current outbreak is also still contained within West Africa, and Singapore has no direct flights to and from affected areas.

Singapore's additional measures come after the United States issued its highest-level alert for Ebola yesterday.

The death toll for Ebola has topped 900, with 45 deaths between last Saturday and Monday.

"In our globalised world, we can never rule out the possibility of an imported case, despite the low risk of spread to Singapore," said MOH in a statement. So hospitals, clinics and doctors here have been told to stay vigilant. Suspected cases will be evaluated at hospitals' emergency departments for medical treatment and, as a precaution, isolated.

Measures are also in place to carry out contact tracing and to quarantine all close contacts, should there be a case here.

Meanwhile, travel agencies such as Chan Brothers and Dynasty Travel have advised those on their South African tours to buy travel insurance and register with Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Both agencies said they have had calls from concerned travellers but no cancellations.

Singapore companies with business dealings in Africa also remain vigilant.

Commodities company Olam, which has operations in Nigeria, has issued health advisories to all its employees in Africa.

Water solutions company Hyflux, which has staff in Algeria in North Africa, is stressing the importance of good personal hygiene, among other things.

Singaporeans are advised to postpone non-essential travel to West Africa and check MOH's online Ebola advisory beforehand.

kashc@sph.com.sg

This article was first published on August 8, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.