In a big relief, there is no threat of spread of diphtheria in Singapore, the Ministry of Health has said today, adding that it had screened the close contacts of the Bangladeshi worker who died of diphtheria, and all 48 have tested negative for toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
The Bangladeshi worker who died on August 4 was likely to have been infected in Singapore as he had not travelled out of the country recently, said the Ministry last wee
The Ministry also informed that two of the victim’s contacts who had developed sore throats since August 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.
Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacterium. It is transmitted from person to person via the respiratory route through close contact (e.g. through air droplets from coughing or sneezing) with an affected case. Symptoms include fever/ chills, sore throat, swelling of the neck and nasal discharge.
The best way to prevent diphtheria is to get vaccinated. Vaccination against diphtheria is effective in reducing the mortality and morbidity of diphtheria dramatically.
While citing the 2010 National Health Survey, MOH said, “It 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.”