Timeline of the GBS outbreak

Early July

A text message claiming that a man has died from a Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection after eating contaminated sashimi goes viral. The Health Ministry (MOH) says hospitals have alerted it to a rise in the number of such infections, and that it is investigating.

July 24

Hawkers are advised to temporarily stop selling dishes containing two types of raw fish - song (Asian bighead carp) and toman (snakehead). MOH says it has found a link between eating such raw fish and GBS infections in a "limited number" of cases, but more investigations have to be done before a definite conclusion is reached.

Aug 27

MOH says its investigations have not found any links between GBS infections and the consumption of Japanese raw meat or fish sashimi.

It also says there has been a "significant downtrend" in the number of GBS cases since hawkers were advised to stop selling the Chinese- style raw fish dishes. There are fewer than five cases each week now.

On the same day, technician Tan Whee Boon, 50, whose limbs turned black and gangrenous after emergency treatment for a GBS infection, has his feet amputated. His hands were amputated about a week before.

Nov 26

Salesman Sim Tharn Chun, 52, is reported to be in critical condition at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital after a GBS infection. He had contracted meningitis, an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Nov 27

MOH says there is a definite link between the consumption of Chinese-style raw fish dishes and GBS infections. Hawkers are told to stop selling them, unless they can prove the fish comes from safe suppliers.

MOH says that among all the GBS cases this year, two have died. One death is still under investigation while the other was not linked to the outbreak.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2015, with the headline 'Timeline of the GBS outbreak'. Print Edition | Subscribe