SINGAPORE - There were 29 more total cases of active tuberculosis (TB) in Singapore in 2018, compared to 1,536 cases in 2017, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Sunday (March 24).
The incidence rate was 39.2 cases per 100,000 population in 2018, compared to 38.7 cases per 100,000 in 2017, said MOH.
The authority added that older age groups and men continue to make up a significant proportion of new active TB cases.
Of the 1,565 new cases notified in 2018, 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 released on Sunday coincided with World Tuberculosis Day, which is observed on March 24 each year.
MOH said that 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.
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, added the health authority.
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 of it in 2018.
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, said MOH.
The authority 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 TB.
Individuals who display symptoms of active TB, such as unexplained prolonged cough of three weeks or more, should seek medical attention early to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.
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