Tests show Chinese girl warded with pneumonia, Wuhan travel history not linked to outbreak in China: MOH

Tests show Chinese girl warded with pneumonia, Wuhan travel history not linked to outbreak in China: MOH

As Singapore's first suspected case of the Wuhan pneumonia virus turned out to be a false alarm, an infectious diseases expert tells CNA there is currently no vaccine against the little known strain and that it would take at least three to four years to develop one.

SINGAPORE: The Chinese girl with pneumonia and a travel history to Wuhan who was warded in Singapore and isolated as a precautionary measure has a common childhood viral illness, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in an update on Sunday (Jan 5).

"Epidemiological investigations, clinical assessment and laboratory test results from the suspect case ... showed that the case is not linked to the pneumonia cluster in Wuhan," said MOH in a statement.

MOH had said on Saturday that the three-year-old girl had been warded for further assessment and treatment, and isolated as a precautionary measure.

While she had a travel history to Wuhan - where there has been an outbreak of pneumonia - she had not visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan associated with the cluster of cases, MOH had said on Saturday.

READ: MOH monitoring China pneumonia outbreak, will implement temperature screening at Changi Airport

In its update on Sunday, MOH said that the girl has also tested negative for SARS and MERS-CoV.

"The cause of her pneumonia is respiratory syncytial virus, a common cause for childhood respiratory infection," said MOH.

There have been no new suspects as of 3pm on Sunday, said the ministry, adding that this could change amid increased vigilance.

"As medical practitioners are on the lookout for cases with pneumonia who have recently returned from Wuhan, Singapore is likely to see more suspect cases that will need to be investigated for possible links to the Wuhan cluster. MOH will continue to monitor the situation closely," it said.

It has urged the public to remain vigilant and adopt good personal hygiene practices.

Those with a travel history to Wuhan should monitor their health closely and seek prompt medical attention if they feel unwell, and inform their doctor of their travel history, it said.

The first infection in Wuhan was reported on Dec 31 and the number of reported cases has now risen 59.

READ: Hong Kong steps up response to China pneumonia outbreak

Chinese authorities are still in the process of identifying the cause, but have determined that common respiratory diseases such as influenza, bird flu and adenovirus infection are not to blame.

The outbreak has revived memories of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic that began in southern China and killed more than 700 people.

Source: CNA/Agencies/aj

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