SINGAPORE: A total of 124 staff and children at Little Greenhouse's Bukit Batok branch have been identified for tubercolosis (TB) screening, a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesperson said on Wednesday (Aug 24).
MOH and the Tuberculosis Control Unit (TBCU) were notified that a teacher from the preschool branch was diagnosed with the disease on Aug 17 and the patient is now undergoing treatment for TB, the ministry said. The childcare centre is not required to close, MOH said, adding: "Persons with active TB disease rapidly become non-infectious once treatment starts."
TB screening will be performed over the course of this week. For those aged 5 years and above, TB screening consists of a blood test and for those below 5 years old, a skin test and chest X-ray will be performed, MOH said. Those with positive screening test results will be followed up at TBCU for further assessment and treatment if necessary. These cases may not be linked to the staff member with active TB, the MOH spokesperson said.
"TB transmission typically requires close and prolonged contact with an infectious individual. It is not spread by contact with items or surfaces touched by a person with TB," the spokesperson added.
The Health Ministry said TB is endemic in Singapore and can occur in various settings including pre-schools. However, it mainly affects older adults. Only a very small proportion of TB cases occur in children. In 2015, only 0.6 per cent of TB cases among Singapore residents occurred in people below 15 years of age. "When there are cases of active TB, it is important to identify contacts for TB screening and to ensure that any other persons with symptoms of active TB seek medical review promptly," MOH said.