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Measles cases on rise in recent weeks with 116 cases so far this year: MOH

Measles cases on rise in recent weeks with 116 cases so far this year: MOH

There were 14 measles cases at the MINDSville @ Napiri, a residential home for persons with intellectual disability. (Photo: Google Street View)

SINGAPORE: The number of measles cases in Singapore has increased in recent weeks with 17 new cases at two separate locations, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a media release on Tuesday (Jul 23).

This brings the total number of measles cases this year to 116 as of Jul 22, said the ministry. 

READ: Spike in number of measles cases in first 11 weeks of 2019

WATCH: Singapore safe from measles outbreak, as 5 foreign workers contract disease

While there is currently no evidence of community spread from these new cases, MOH said it has taken precautionary measures to prevent further spread.

"These include vaccination of close contacts who do not have proof of vaccination or immunity, and close monitoring of the health of close contacts," said MOH, adding that all suspected measles cases will be isolated.

MOH said that out of all the cases this year, 88 were local and 28 were imported from Bangladesh, Dubai, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. 

No deaths have been reported this year as a result of these cases.


MOH said it was first notified on Jul 7 of a suspected measles case at MINDSville@Napiri home at 7 Lorong Napiri, a residential home for persons with intellectual disability.

The resident had developed symptoms on Jun 29 and received outpatient treatment on Jul 1 and Jul 5.

After she was tested positive for measles on Jul 9, the resident was hospitalised, said MOH. She has since been discharged and is no longer infectious.

Thirteen other cases were then reported to MOH from Jul 19 to Jul 22, and the patients were promptly isolated and treated. 

The confirmed cases included 12 residents and two employees, said MOH. Six of the residents were eventually hospitalised, one of whom has been discharged and is no longer infectious.

READ: As a measles epidemic rolls through the Philippines, blame falls on bungled vaccination programme

MOH said that after being made aware of the first case, they had advised the home on enhanced infection prevention and control measures.

“Staff and residents were reminded to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene and staff were asked to wear gloves and protective equipment when tending to symptomatic residents." 

The home was also advised to closely monitor residents and staff for symptoms and to seek medical treatment for them if they are unwell, said MOH. 

On Jul 22, all residents and employees of the home who did not have proof of measles vaccination were given the Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccination, added MOH.

The ministry said that all residents will be screened for symptoms before leaving the home for medical appointments or any activities.


On Jul 15, a case of measles infection in S11 Dormitory @ Punggol involving one Indian worker was reported to MOH. 

Two other measles cases involving a Bangladeshi and Indian worker from the same dormitory were later reported to MOH. 

All three workers were hospitalised and have since been discharged and are no longer infectious, added MOH. 

While vaccination history of the three cases is unclear, the Bangladeshi worker had recently arrived from his home country on Jun 27.

The other two cases, however, had no recent travel history. 

"The three cases reside at different blocks in the dormitory and are from different companies, working at different sites," said MOH.

"They reported no contact with sick people. Thus far, there have been no links identified amongst the three cases," said the ministry, adding that investigations were ongoing. 

READ: Orang Asli village in Kelantan afflicted with measles outbreak: Malaysian health minister

As of Jul 22, 50 close contacts, which included roommates and co-workers, have been identified and vaccinated. 

Other residents on the same floor as the infected individuals, who also do not have proof of vaccination or immunity, will also be vaccinated.

"MOH is working with the companies to conduct screening and vaccination of all close contacts of the three cases who do not have proof of vaccination or immunity," said the ministry. 

It has advised the companies to closely monitor the health of the identified close contacts and to seek medical treatment promptly if they are unwell.

Vaccination of all contacts identified is expected to be completed by the end of the week. 


In the release, MOH urged Singaporeans to be vigilant, as measles cases around the world have increased substantially.

"As a travel hub, Singapore is likely to see increased cases from importation.

"MOH has alerted general practitioners to be on the look-out for cases of measles, particularly in patients who have recently travelled overseas or who have not been vaccinated, and to notify MOH promptly," it said. 

Measles is a highly transmissible viral disease among unvaccinated individuals, with an infectious period of as early as four days before onset of rash to four days after.

MOH reminded the public that the most effective way of preventing measles infection is to be vaccinated.

Following up from a previous case of measles reported at two other dormitories last month, MOH said that there have not been further cases reported. 

On Jun 27, two Bangladeshi workers staying at Toh Guan Dormitory and three Bangladeshi workers staying at Sungei Tengah Lodge contracted measles. 

"MOH has since completed vaccination of all close contacts of the eight measles cases," said the ministry.

Source: CNA/ad


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