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Update on cholera cases in Singapore


The Ministry had reported on 16 Oct 2004 a cluster of eight local cholera cases comprising two males and six females aged 20-84 years. An additional case has since been notified to the Ministry.

The case is a 89-year-old Malay male who had diarrhoea on 4 Oct but initially self-medicated. He was subsequently admitted to NUH on 9 Oct. He had concurrent medical conditions and was found to be in acute renal failure. He collapsed and died on 13 Oct 2004. Stool culture of the deceased showed Vibrio cholerae.

Of the eight cases reported earlier, five are well and have been discharged. The other three are still in hospital: two at SGH and one at CDC.

Thus far, all the cases had onset of illness between 3 and 10 Oct 2004 (pl. see Annex A for epidemic curve).

Cholera is an acute disease caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae.

Only rarely is cholera spread by person to person contact. Symptoms include acute painless watery diarrhoea and vomiting, which can result in dehydration if not properly treated. Because the bacterium is found in the aquatic environment, common vehicles of transmission include fish and shellfish.

Investigations to trace the source of infection are currently in progress. To date, a total of 201 food handlers and 39 home contacts have been referred to CDC for medical screening. 

Food and environmental samples from the food outlets were sent for laboratory analysis. NEA has conducted checks on the hawker centres as a precautionary measure, and they have found all the premises to adhere to proper personal and food hygiene standards.

Ministry's Advice

The public is strongly advised to:

  Eat only foods that have been thoroughly cooked

  Avoid consuming undercooked seafood eg raw fish, shellfish or squids

  Maintain proper personal and food hygiene at all times

  See a doctor promptly if you have symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting.


Source: Ministry of Health Press Release 18 Oct 2004


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20 October 2004