MIL-OSI Asia-Pac: Detection of Tuberculosis Clusters in Singapore and Lessons from the Recent Increase in Cases in Bukit Merah

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Source: Asia Pacific Region 2 – Singapore

NOTICE PAPER NO. 2512
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 5 FEBRUARY 2024

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC

Question No. 5598

To ask the Minister for Health regarding the cases of tuberculosis detected in Bukit Merah (a) whether the National Tuberculosis (TB) Programme was effective and timely in helping the Ministry to pick up such potential clusters; (b) whether the current cluster shows signs of the emergence of multi-drug resistant TB; and (c) what are the lessons learnt from this episode which can be used to prevent further spread or future outbreaks of the disease.

Answer

1     The National TB Programme (NTBP) has been using Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) since 2020. WGS has enabled comprehensive analysis of the genetic makeup of the TB bacteria and precise identification of related cases. It is through such techniques that we could identify the Bukit Merah and other clusters in Singapore.

2      The control of TB does not rely solely on contact tracing and cluster detection. It is important that persons with symptoms of TB, such as prolonged cough for more than three weeks, seek early medical assessment to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment of TB.  

3          None of the cases in the current cluster at Bukit Merah have any evidence of multi-drug resistant TB.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News