Some staff members at Bloodbank@HSA in Singapore have been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) – with one staff member testing positive for active TB. Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said the staff member was tested positive in April. A spokesman for HSA expressed that the Tuberculosis Control Unit (TBCU) informed them about the case.

Once case of active TB, the others diagnosed with latent TB

The staff member with active TB usually works at the front desk and also takes care of donor registration. According to a representative of the Ministry of Health (MOH), this staff has since been given medical leave and started treatment.

“MOH and the Tuberculosis Control Unit (TBCU) were notified that a staff member of the HSA was diagnosed with active TB. To date, there are no active TB cases among the close contacts identified for screening,” she asserted.

Another member of staff from Bloodbank@HSA spoke to The New Paper (TNP) expressing at least six of them are being treated for the disease. Apart from the one active case, the other cases are latent TB and are not infectious. There are 36 staff working at the Bloodbank@HSA; and, supposedly, not all of them have been sent for a TB screening.

According to the HSA spokesman, TBCU, which manages a national programme and is responsible for the prevention and control of the disease, has informed that there is “no risk to blood donors as they did not have prolonged contact with the affected staff”.

“As patients would be on medical leave and started on treatment, there would be no risk of further exposure to workplace contacts once the diagnosis is made,” assured the spokesman.

Bloodbank@HSA manages the collection of blood from donors and is nestled within the HSA building in Outram. 28,000 of the 116,000 whole blood donations carried out in Singapore last year were handled by this facility.

Lesser youth blood donors

Earlier this month, the decrease of blood donors amongst youth in Singapore made local headlines. With the rapidly ageing population, the demand for blood is increasing at an annual rate or 3-5%. The numbers of youth donors have decreased by 13% between 2012 and 2016.

The Singapore Red Cross is tackling this issue by attempting to bring blood donation drives to the community to ensure convenience. The National Blood Programme also plans to continue its outreach efforts such as with the Missing Type Campaign launched in 2016.

For this campaign, over 60 organisations removed the letters A, B and O from their branding. This successfully yielded a 16% increase in blood donations the same month it was started. MIMS

Read more:
World Blood Donor Day 2017: The situation in Malaysia and Singapore
World Tuberculosis Day: A look at one of the most infectious diseases
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