Why was public not told of typhoid cases?

I was surprised to find out about the increase in typhoid fever cases (18 typhoid fever cases in 3 weeks, Aug 18) from a social media post made by a clinic that was alerted by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

As Singapore's health authority, MOH should alert citizens as quickly as possible and not inform just doctors as it did in this instance.

Informing the public would prime them to take pre-emptive measures, and also to be alert to family members displaying symptoms related to the disease.

The health authority should not wait until it becomes an epidemic before issuing a press release.

In this instance, MOH and the Singapore Food Agency jointly issued a public statement about the typhoid cases on Aug 17, at least two days after doctors were informed.

MOH should explain the rationale behind not informing the public, as in my view, it was not sufficient to only inform clinics of the typhoid cases.

David Soh Poh Huat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2019, with the headline 'Why was public not told of typhoid cases?'. Print Edition | Subscribe