The Ministry of Health (MOH) has not found any link between the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection and consumption of sashimi-style raw fish, it said yesterday (Aug 26).
It posted a clarification on Facebook, stating that its investigations have only found an association between GBS infections and the consumption of “yusheng” — a raw fish dish. It had earlier detected traces of the bacteria on samples of Toman fish and Song fish.
MOH’s Facebook note comes after was alerted to a rumour being circulated via WhatsApp and SMS. The message claims one person died from a bacterial infection after eating sashimi over the Jubilee weekend and that a professor was critically ill from consuming salmon sashimi two months ago.
Screenshot of a message circulating via WhatsApp. Photo: Channel NewsAsia
Last month, the ministry noticed a spike in GBS cases and advised food stall holders to temporarily stop the sales of raw fish dishes using Song fish and Toman fish. A few GBS patients told Channel NewsAsia that they had painful swelling of the joints and some had to have surgery.
The health ministry yesterday reiterated that there has been a downtrend in the number of GBS cases since mid-July, after the sale of yusheng was halted.
“MOH would like to reiterate that GBS is a common bacterium that colonises the human gut and urinary tract. While GBS does not usually cause disease in healthy individuals, it may occasionally cause infections of the bloodstream, skin and soft tissue, joints, lungs and brain. The risk factors for GBS infection include underlying chronic or co-morbid conditions,” it said.
“As a general precaution, vulnerable groups of people, especially young children, pregnant women, elderly persons, or people with chronic illness such as diabetes, should continue to exercise caution by avoiding raw ready-to-eat food.”