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Fewer tuberculosis cases in Singapore last year: MOH

There were fewer tuberculosis (TB) cases in Singapore last year compared with 2020, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

In a statement released on Thursday (March 24) to coincide with World Tuberculosis Day, MOH said that there were 1,306 new cases of active TB among Singapore residents last year, down from 1,360 cases in 2020.

TB is an airborne disease that is transmitted person-to-person after close and prolonged exposure.

World TB Day is observed yearly to raise public awareness about the health, social and economic consequences of TB, and spur efforts to eliminate the disease.

The theme for this year is "Invest to End TB. Save Lives", which conveys the pressing need to commit resources to accelerate the fight against TB.

MOH said that close to 79 per cent of cases here were Singapore-born. 

About 73 per cent of the new cases in 2021 were 50 years old and above and about 65 per cent were males.

There were also 117 relapsed cases, among which 95 were Singapore-born.

MOH added that while there are national control measures - such as the National TB Programme - in place to reduce the risk of TB transmission in Singapore, everyone has an important part to play in preventing the spread of the disease.

Those who are unwell and display symptoms such as prolonged cough, should seek medical attention early to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment for TB takes about six to nine months, and up to 24 months for individuals who are drug-resistant. Support and encouragement from patients' family members, friends and co-workers are important to ensure that the patient completes their treatment successfully, said MOH.

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