Mandatory TB screening for residents of Bukit Merah HDB block after about 170 people test positive
SINGAPORE — Tuberculosis screening for residents and workers at Block 2 Jalan Bukit Merah is now mandatory after about 170 people who were screened earlier tested positive, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (June 24).
The Health Ministry said in a news release that it will extend its tuberculosis screening for those living or working at the affected block to June 24 and June 25.
This follows an earlier round of voluntary tuberculosis screening for these individuals from May 27 to May 31. On-site chest X-ray will also be conducted for selected residents who require further testing.
“The extended screening exercise and further tests will be conducted free of charge. All persons living or working at the block who have not been screened for tuberculosis are required to participate in the extended screening exercise,” said MOH.
“The screening is mandatory under the Infectious Diseases Act. Persons who have been recalled for further tests will also be required to complete these tests.”
The Health Ministry added that staff members from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) have conducted visits to “non-respondent units” to engage and urge residents who had not been screened earlier to undergo screening.
Screening is not necessary for individuals who had occasionally visited the block or vicinity as the risk of transmission to persons who are transient contacts of a tuberculosis case is low.
MOH said a total of 574 out of 749 people from the block have attended the tuberculosis screening as of Thursday.
“Of these 574 people screened, about 30 per cent have tested positive for tuberculosis through blood test,” said MOH, without specifying an exact number. This translates to about 170 individuals.
The Health Ministry added that further tests are required to determine if these people have tuberculosis infection or active tuberculosis disease.
MOH said those with active tuberculosis disease will be treated while those with latent tuberculosis infection will be given appointments for follow-up at the Tuberculosis Control Unit and offered treatment if suitable.
“We have also detected one more case that is genetically linked by Whole Genome Sequencing to the cluster. Contact investigations for the new case are ongoing.”
The screening station will be located at the Queenstown Hock San Zone Residents’ Committee Centre at Block 3 Jalan Bukit Merah.
Residents who cannot attend the screening on these two days can get tested at the designated SATA Clinic (Potong Pasir Medical Centre) before Aug 5.