SINGAPORE – As health experts in the United Kingdom warn of the worst winter flu outbreak there in 10 years, a check with Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) last week presented a marked difference in the flu situation here.
There has been no significant increase in patients severely ill from the H1N1 infection, a ministry spokesperson said, declining to reveal exact numbers.
Statistics from a fortnight ago showed influenza activity in Singapore remains low.
Of the 13,484 patients who sought treatment at polyclinics from Dec 12 to 18 for acute respiratory infections, only one in 100 cases had flu-like illness – compared to 15 to 20 per cent during the H1N1 pandemic last year.
Samples taken from those with flu-like illness showed 37 per cent testing positive for the flu virus.
However, H1N1-2009 is the predominant circulating strain. Compare this with the flu situation in the UK which has seen 460 people there in intensive care, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The World Health Organisation’s latest flu update states that the H1N1 virus is still similar to the strain used in the current flu vaccine, and that the increasing influenza activity observed across parts of Europe indicates the start of wintertime influenza epidemics in several countries.
The MOH here urged high-risk groups, including those aged 65 and above, young children aged 5 and below, as well as pregnant women in their second and third trimesters, to get vaccinated.
The rate of flu in England and Wales is 87.1 cases per 100,000 of the population, a rate which has tripled in seven days.
The latest figures show 27 deaths from flu, 24 of which were from H1N1 flu. Nine of the cases were children The Daily Telegraph reported on. Neo Chai Chin