Parliament: 16 cases of Candida auris in S'pore since 2012

HEALTH MINISTER GAN KIM YONG.
HEALTH MINISTER GAN KIM YONG.

A total of 16 cases of Candida auris infections have been reported in both private and public hospitals in Singapore since 2012, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday.

In a written reply to two parliamentary questions, Mr Gan said investigations showed the cases were not linked and there has been no report of the drug-resistant fungus being spread locally.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said last month there were 11 isolated cases in public hospitals.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), referring to the emergence of viruses, bacteria and fungi which are resistant to standard drugs and treatments, is a "global public health issue", Mr Gan said.

"While AMR can occur naturally in some microorganisms, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials such as antibiotics globally in healthcare, as well as the animal and agricultural sectors, have led to accelerated development of AMR.

"Due to increased global connectivity, there is a growing risk of AMR being spread internationally. Singapore, being a global travel hub, is exposed to the importation of AMR organisms."

Several measures have been put in place to address the development and spread of AMR here, he said. These include regulations on the prescription and sale of antibiotics to minimise the risk of misuse and overuse, and public education campaigns on the proper use of antibiotics.

 
 
 

In public hospitals, there are also programmes to guide doctors to use antimicrobial drugs appropriately and infection prevention and control measures to reduce the risk of spread of antimicrobial-resistant organisms, Mr Gan said. But he added that individuals also play a part in using antibiotics and antimicrobials prudently.

He was replying to Dr Chia Shi-Lu (Tanjong Pagar GRC) who asked whether the MOH would revise its measures to deal with superbugs like C. auris and how preventative measures would be strengthened in hospitals and clinics here.

Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera also asked what measures were being planned to ensure that public confidence in hospitals here remains high.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2019, with the headline '16 cases of Candida auris in S'pore since 2012'. Print Edition | Subscribe