Bedok elderly care resident treated for TB

A resident of an elderly daycare centre in Bedok was diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB) in June, but is undergoing treatment and is no longer infectious, a news report said yesterday.

The woman, whose age was not mentioned, is from Peacehaven Bedok Day Centre, reported Channel NewsAsia. She was diagnosed on June 26.

A total of 36 residents and staff at the centre, who were in close contact with her, were screened and no cases of active TB were found, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

"Contact tracing was initiated by the Tuberculosis Control Unit and all close contacts identified have been screened," the ministry was reported as saying.

The Salvation Army-run centre also said in the same report that a few clients and staff members had been diagnosed with latent TB. Those with latent TB are not infectious and do not spread the disease to those around them.

Those identified with latent TB are taking medication as a form of prevention, said the Peacehaven Bedok Day Centre. "These latent TB cases may not be linked to the active case diagnosed in June," the MOH added.

The centre said it took steps to segregate the elderly woman when she started coughing. It has also stepped up infection control measures, the report said.

Latent TB is endemic in Singapore. Persons with past exposure to TB may develop latent TB infection. In most healthy adults with latent TB, the TB bacteria remain inactive in their body throughout their life.

There have been several cases of TB of late, including in Ang Mo Kio and among MRT staff at the Tanah Merah station.

Out of the four MRT staff, two were found to have active TB, while the other two were diagnosed with the latent form. All are receiving medication and rail operator SMRT has stepped up screening of its staff.

At Ang Mo Kio, six residents of a housing block were diagnosed with the same drug-resistant strain of the disease between February 2012 and May this year. Last year, more than 1,400 people were diagnosed with TB and, so far this year, more than 700 people have discovered that they have the bacterial infection.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2016, with the headline 'Bedok elderly care resident treated for TB'. Print Edition | Subscribe