Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuberculosis and the IDA Schedule 6

It's very stange that the Ministry of Health reported rather proudly in 2007 that the incidence of TB is dropping.

"Over the past ten years, Singapore has seen a steady decline in the number of TB cases. There were 1,256 cases in 2006, compared to 1,712 cases in 1997. In 2006, the incidence rate of TB declined to 34.8 new cases per 100,000 resident population, from 37.0 per 100,000 in 2005 and 54.9 per 100,000 in 1997. In 2006, men accounted for 863 (69% percent) of new TB cases in Singapore, and more than half (55%) of the patients were aged 50 years and above.

The concerted efforts carried out under the Singapore Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (STEP) and by the medical community have contributed to the decline in TB cases in Singapore."


Then all of a sudden, they come out with a statement that the projected 2008 incidence based on the first 6 months reporting of 700 cases was 38.8/100,000 as compared to 35.1/100,000 in 2007. This sudden projected spike, suddenly precipitated the need to place TB in Schedule 6 of the Infections Disease Act.


Add to this strange bit of reasoning, the inference that as most (86%) of the new cases were over the age of 50, it was likely that the postulated, projected increase was due to re-activation rather than new infections.

Double huh...???

If these were mostly due to reactivation, then it couldn't have been due to transmission. So why the urgent need to put in place intrusive methods to limit spread??

The only conclusion must be that this grandiose act is primarily directed towards interfacing with the international community so that we can tell other agencies and airlines who the active cases are.

Hmmmm.....Stranger and stranger.

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