Singapore widens tuberculosis checks after large cluster emerges; first monkeypox case also confirmed earlier in the week

SINGAPORE, June 25 (Bloomberg): Singapore imposed imposed mandatory screening for tuberculosis in an apartment block after about 170 people tested positive for the infectious disease.

Stallholders, shop owners and their employees who are located in the complex will also be tested, the Ministry of Health said in a statement late on Friday.

An earlier voluntary round of screening found about 30% of 574 residents and workers testing positive, and those who have not participated must now do so.

The health ministry said tuberculosis is endemic in Singapore, and is not uncommon in Singaporeans.

The prevalence of tuberculosis infection as high as 29% among those aged 70 to 79 years, and is curable. Its spread is also preventable, the government said.

Singapore also had confirmed an imported case of monkeypox, the health ministry said late on Tuesday, the first such case reported in South-East Asia during this year's outbreak of the viral disease, Reuters had reported.

The patient, who tested positive on June 20, is a 42-year-old British man who works as a flight attendant and had flown in and out of Singapore around mid-June, the health ministry said in a statement.

He is in stable condition in a ward at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore, the ministry said.

Thirteen close contacts of the man were identified as of Tuesday, and all will be placed under quarantine for 21 days since their last contact with him, the statement added.

Contact tracing is ongoing for affected flights and for the duration of the man's stay in Singapore.

The last monkeypox case detected in the Southeast Asian city-state was three years ago.

Australia, which on May 20 reported its first case, had confirmed eight as of June 10.

More than 35 countries where monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease, and confirmed cases now exceed 2,500. - Bloomberg

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