There has been a tuberculous disease outbreak in Singapore’s National University Hospital (NUH) and 178 children have been recalled for testing.

The hospital found out the outbreak when a nurse was tested positive for tuberculous (TB), with a TB patch the size of a 50-cent coin last Friday (Nov 27). The nurse first experienced persistent coughing in July. One of the wards affected was ward 47. 131 of the children are under two years old and 34 are especially vulnerable as they had just received a transplanted organ and were under immune system suppressant drugs.

Professor Paul Tambyah, an infectious disease expert at NUH, said there is a 10% chances of people getting the bacteria if a person coughs at them for two hours, and that the risk of infection depends on the exposure, the bacterial load of the infected and the immune system of the exposed.

There is no comment from the Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong as of press time and the hospital will conduct blood tests, X-ray and skin tests for the children.

Just two months ago, a similar virus outbreak happened at the Singapore General Hospital which saw 22 infected and 8 dead.

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