Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Singapore repeats Australian mistake

AT least Singaporean doctors don't pretend that Swine Flu is milder
than common flu.

But to assume that fatality rate is only 0.37% for Swine Flu compared
to 0.1% for common flu is wrong.

These figures are only case fatality rates, not true fatality rates.
Common flu figure is for the whole year so it is close to the true
fatality rate but for Swine flu, it is only 2 months


Singapore changes H1N1 strategy

By: Dawn Tay

SINGAPORE is changing its strategy in tackling the Influenza A (H1N1)
virus, following the surge in number of infections here.

The Health Ministry confirmed 26 new cases yesterday, bringing the
total number here to 168. Nearly half of those who had caught the
virus within the last few days were infected here.

At a press conference yesterday, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said:
"We have crossed the tipping point, beyond which local transmissions
will grow rapidly."

But life must go on, he said.

The Asian Youth Games will continue, and schools will reopen next
month as scheduled. Events like the National Day Parade and the F1
race will go ahead as planned.

The change from the containment phase to the community- spread phase
means a shift in strategy, from containing the virus to detecting and
treating the large number of infections, in particular "high-risk"
patients with existing health conditions.

Mr Khaw said: "There will be some deaths. We need to allow our
hospitals to focus on the high-risk cases and not be distracted or
overwhelmed by hundreds of mild cases."

He outlined several new measures that will be implemented:


993 ambulances have started taking suspected H1N1 cases to all public


To lighten the load on hospitals, H1N1 suspects with mild symptoms can
visit Pandemic Preparedness Clinics, marked by decals with a red tick,
at over 450 polyclinics and clinics run by general practitioners. Only
high-risk suspected cases will be referred to public hospitals.

Singapore is in negotiations with several vaccine manufacturers to
acquire supplies of Influenza A vaccine.

While the virus has been described by the World Health Organization
(WHO) as posing a "moderate risk", its death rate in the United
States, at 0.37 per cent, is almost four times higher than that for
the normal flu.

As people have little immunity against the new virus, WHO experts
estimate that a third of a population could get infected, which means
over one million Singaporeans are potentially at risk.

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