Diphtheria in Singapore: 48 close contacts given all clear, MOH says

Diphtheria in Singapore: 48 close contacts given all clear, MOH says

A doctor prepares a syringe in a municipal vaccination centre in Nice
A doctor prepares a syringe for vaccination. (File photo: Reuters/Eric Gaillard)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Aug 10) that it has screened the close contacts of the Bangladeshi worker who died of diphtheria, and all 48 have tested negative for toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae

The 21-year-old worker, who died on Aug 4, was likely to have been infected in Singapore as he had not travelled out of Singapore recently, the ministry said last week. 

As of 5pm on Aug 8, MOH said the close contacts were screened, and two of them who had developed sore throat since Aug 3 and were warded in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital have been discharged. The remaining 46 are well. 

"All 48 contacts have been given preventive medication and a booster diphtheria vaccine. There is no evidence of further spread," the ministry said. 

It added that vaccination against diphtheria is effective in reducing infection and severity of the infection, and in Singapore, compulsory vaccination is established as part of the National Childhood Immunisation programme. 

The ministry cited the 2010 National Health Survey that showed 92 per cent of adult Singapore residents aged 18 to 79 have some immunity to diphtheria. "As such, cases of diphtheria are rare in Singapore and the threat of spread is low," MOH added.

Source: CNA/kk

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