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Slight drop in active tuberculosis cases in Singapore in 2020: MOH

​SINGAPORE — Active tuberculosis (TB) cases in Singapore inched downwards last year compared with 2019, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Wednesday (March 24).

Tuberculosis is a curable airborne disease, with treatment rapidly reducing transmission.

Tuberculosis is a curable airborne disease, with treatment rapidly reducing transmission.

SINGAPORE — Active tuberculosis (TB) cases in Singapore inched downwards last year compared with 2019, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement on Wednesday (March 24).

World TB Day falls on March 24.

There were 1,370 new cases of active TB among Singapore residents in 2020, a slight decrease from the 1,398 cases reported in 2019.

Older people and males continued to form a significant proportion of the new cases. Of those reported last year, 71.9 per cent were 50 years and older, and 64.8 per cent were males, MOH said.

The ministry also said there were 105 cases of relapse and two cases of multi-drug-resistant TB, which is harder to treat and has a higher death rate.

TB is a curable airborne disease, with treatment rapidly reducing transmission.

It nevertheless remains a global public health threat and is endemic in Singapore.

It is transmitted through close and prolonged exposure to an infectious individual with untreated, active TB in the lungs. Not all individuals who are exposed to an infectious person will get the disease.

To fight its spread, the National TB Programme carries out contact tracing and screening of close contacts.

MOH said: “While there are national control measures in place to reduce the risk of TB transmission in Singapore, everyone plays an important role in preventing the spread of TB.

“Individuals who are unwell and display symptoms, such as cough, should seek medical attention early to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.” 

In January, two separate TB clusters — affecting a total of 18 people who visited Singapore Pools' Bedok betting centre — were identified here.

Five people who made up the first cluster were diagnosed with TB between July 2018 and February last year, while the 13 people from the second cluster received their diagnoses between February 2015 and October last year.

Related topics

tuberculosis disease MOH health

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