SINGAPORE: There is no further risk of tuberculosis spreading in a Bukit Batok pre-school after a patient was treated for the infectious disease, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (Dec 17).
MOH and the Tuberculosis Control Unit (TBCU) were notified on Nov 26 of a case of active tuberculosis at the PCF Sparkletots pre-school at Bukit Batok Block 293.
The patient had been started on treatment and was placed on medical leave immediately after the diagnosis was made, the ministry said.
"There is therefore no further risk of tuberculosis transmission to the preschool from the case," MOH added.
"Contact screening has started to identify close contacts of the case, and results of the screening are currently pending."
A spokesperson for PCF Sparkletots said it was informed of the case by the TBCU on Dec 10 and issued a letter to parents two days later to inform them of the situation and provide information about tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis, an air-borne disease that usually affects the lungs, can be a fatal disease if not treated properly.
The disease typically spreads through close and prolonged contact with an infectious individual and not by contact with items or surfaces touched by a person with the disease.
"In this case, only persons in close and prolonged contact with the infectious individual require screening by TBCU. There is no need for other persons to be tested," MOH said.
As of Dec 7, there were 1,329 cases of tuberculosis in Singapore, according to data from MOH. There were 1,565 cases of tuberculosis in Singapore in 2018.
NO NEED FOR PRE-SCHOOL TO CLOSE
The spokesperson for PCF Sparkletots said the TBCU had advised that closure of the pre-school was not necessary.
Staff from the control unit had visited the pre-school on Dec 11 to identify close contacts for follow-up screening.
"There is no need for schools, workplaces, or other places where an active tuberculosis case has visited to be closed," MOH said.
"As patients would be on medical leave and started on treatment, there would be no risk of further exposure to the workplace or school once the diagnosis is made."
People diagnosed with active tuberculosis who start treatment will rapidly become non-infectious, according to MOH's website.
"Early detection and treatment through screening of close contacts can help prevent further spread of tuberculosis," the ministry said.
"Workplace or school contacts found to have latent tuberculosis infection are also not infectious, and will be followed up by TBCU and managed accordingly."
The spokesperson for PCF Sparkletots said the pre-school has been working closely with the TBCU to facilitate investigations.
"Subsequently, PCF staff organised a briefing for parents, which was conducted by staff from TBCU who explained the contact screening process and addressed questions that were raised. Contact details of TBCU are also made available to parents who may require further clarifications," the spokesperson added.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support the parents and children in our centre."