SINGAPORE, Mar 23 – The rate of new tuberculosis infections in Singapore, one of Asia’s cleanest cities, rose for the first time in 10 years in 2008, the Ministry of Health said.
The tuberculosis incidence rate last year was 39.8 per 100,000 residents, up from a figure of 35.1 per 100,000 people in 2007, the ministry said in a statement released at the weekend.
It said this is the first time in 10 years that the infection rate has increased in the affluent city-state known for its high standards of cleanliness.
The number of TB patients totalled 1,451 last year, up 15.5 percent from 1,256 people in 2007, the ministry said in the statement released ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on Tuesday.
"The increase in new cases in 2008 is likely due to increased reactivation of latent TB infection as well as increased transmission of TB in the community," the ministry said.
Older age groups and males made up a significant proportion of the new cases in Singapore, it said.
Tuberculosis is a contagious lung disease that spreads through the air, including through coughing and sneezing.
The World Health Organization said on its website that someone in the world is newly infected with TB bacilli every second.