There were 1,565 cases of active tuberculosis (TB) in Singapore last year, 29 more than the 1,536 cases in 2017, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Sunday.
The incidence rate was 39.2 cases per 100,000 population last year, compared with 38.7 cases per 100,000 in 2017, said MOH. It added that older age groups and men continue to make up a significant proportion of new active TB cases.
Of the new cases notified last year, more than two-thirds (1,130) were at least 50 years old and more than half (1,057) were males.
There were 127 relapsed cases.
The statement coincided with World Tuberculosis Day, which is observed on March 24 each year.
MOH said Singapore stood united with the global community to continue the fight against TB.
TB remains a global public health threat and there were 10 million cases of active TB globally in 2017, with 1.6 million deaths.
1,565 Number of cases of tuberculosis in Singapore last year, 29 more than in 2017.
72% Percentage of cases involving those 50 and older.
127 Number of relapsed cases.
4 Number of new cases of multi-drug-resistant TB.
Additionally, there were at least half a million cases of multi-drug-resistant TB, which is more difficult to treat, with death rates as high as 30 to 40 per cent, said MOH.
TB is endemic in Singapore and latent TB infection is not uncommon in the population, the ministry added. TB had been prevalent in Singapore until the 1970s.
MOH said: "The emergence of multi-drug-resistant TB remains a serious public health challenge."
There were four new cases last year. MOH said the number of cases must be kept low despite a higher regional prevalence of the disease, through strong emphasis on treatment compliance under the national TB control programme.
It added that while there are national control measures in place to reduce the risk of TB transmission in Singapore, everyone plays an important role in preventing the spread of the disease.
People who display symptoms of active TB, such as an unexplained prolonged cough of three weeks or more, should seek medical attention early to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Goh Yan Han
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