Sick girl not stricken with mystery Chinese virus: Singapore health ministry

Travelers arriving from Wuhan, China, are scanned for elevated body temperatures at Changi Airport. Photo: Khaw Boon Wan/Facebook
Travelers arriving from Wuhan, China, are scanned for elevated body temperatures at Changi Airport. Photo: Khaw Boon Wan/Facebook

A 3-year-old Chinese girl who contracted pneumonia and traveled to Wuhan, China, was not affected by the mystery virus sickening people there, Singapore’s health ministry announced.

The unidentified girl’s illness was unrelated to the viral outbreak that has prompted both Singapore and Hong Kong to conduct temperature checks on passengers arriving by air, health officials said Sunday, though fears it is SARS or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have been refuted.

Fifty-nine cases of the virus had been reported in the Chinese city as of Sunday, with seven people in critical condition. Chinese authorities have yet to identify the virus or determine its cause but are said to have denied rumors it is either Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Changi Airport resumes temperature screening amid Chinese pneumonia scare

The first suspected case in Singapore turned out to be a common childhood respiratory infection, the health ministry wrote in a statement last night. 

“Epidemiological investigations, clinical assessment and laboratory test results from the suspect case reported on 4 January 2020 involving a 3 year-old female Chinese national with pneumonia and travel history to Wuhan have found that the case is not linked to the pneumonia cluster in Wuhan,” the post read. “The case 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.”

No new cases have been reported in Singapore since Sunday afternoon, it added. 

The little girl also did not visit a seafood market linked to the outbreak, according to a separate ministry post published Saturday. 

Photos posted to Chinese social media platform Weibo last week purportedly showed masked medical officers in white suits sanitizing the market.

In Hong Kong, nine people down with either fever or respiratory symptoms and have visited Wuhan recently have been hospitalized, South China Morning Post reported yesterday. 

The mystery pneumonia virus originally had sparked rumors it could be SARS. 

Thirty-three people died after SARS hit Singapore in 2003. It spread after a woman who had been infected while traveling abroad returned to the city-state, setting off a series of transmissions. The virus spread to more than 200 people. 

Related:

Changi Airport resumes temperature screening amid Chinese pneumonia scare

 


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