SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) has clarified that it has not found any links between the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection and the consumption of sashimi.
In a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday, it said that it had been alerted to a message being circulated through Whatsapp and SMS, claiming that a person died from a bacterial infection after eating sashimi over the National Day weekend and that a professor had been critically ill after consuming salmon sashimi two months ago.
In response, MOH said that its investigation found only an association between the GBS infection and the consumption of "yusheng style" raw fish sold at food stalls.
In its post, MOH highlighted that there has been a "significant downtrend" in the number of GBS cases from mid-July, since licensed foodshop and foodstall holders were advised to stop the sales of raw fish dishes using Song fish and Toman fish.
A weekly average of three cases was reported in the past three weeks, down from an average of 20 cases since the start of the year. MOH had received reports of a total of 238 cases from public hospitals from Jan 1 to June 30, up from an average of 150 cases per year in the past four years.
GBS is a common bacterium found in the gut and urinary tract of 15 to 30 per cent of adults without causing disease in healthy individuals. However, it may occasionally cause infections of the bloodstream, skin and soft tissue, joints, lungs and brain.
Those with chronic or multiple conditions are at a higher risk of getting GBS infections.
MOH advised vulnerable groups of people, especially young children, pregnant women, elderly persons, or people with chronic illness such as diabetes, to continue to exercise caution by avoiding raw ready-to-eat food.