Singapore Ministry of Health Initiates Mandatory Tuberculosis Screening in Response to Identified Cluster

08 January 2024 | Monday | News

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is taking proactive measures to address a cluster of Tuberculosis (TB) cases in specific areas
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has revealed a closed genetic relatedness among cases linked to Blocks 1 and 3 Jalan Bukit Merah, ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre, and Thong Kheng Seniors Activity Centre @ Queenstown at Block 3 Jalan Bukit Merah. In light of this, MOH, in collaboration with the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), will be conducting mandatory TB screening for residents and workers in the mentioned locations from January 11 to January 15, 2024.

The utilization of advanced technologies such as WGS showcases the Ministry's commitment to reexamining traditional contact tracing strategies. By understanding the closed genetic relatedness identified through WGS, MOH aims to gain insights into how pathogens may be transmitted in densely built environments.

As part of the screening initiative, MOH and NCID staff will be going door-to-door to conduct thorough screenings. This comprehensive effort involving 3,000 individuals is a precautionary measure to identify any undetected cases and prevent further transmission of TB in the affected areas.

Dr. Tan Wei Ling, Director of Infectious Diseases at MOH, stated, "This screening effort is a critical step in our commitment to public health. By leveraging technologies like WGS, we aim to not only address the current cluster but also enhance our understanding of TB transmission in densely populated areas. This will inform our future efforts to manage and control the spread of TB."

The results from this screening exercise will be carefully analyzed, contributing valuable insights into the transmission dynamics of TB in dense built environments. The knowledge gained will help refine and inform future contact tracing efforts and public health strategies.

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