Remember that article about doctors reporting an increasing number of people falling ill after consuming a raw fish dish known as Yusheng? It turns out that there may be more truth to it than we think.
According to doctors interviewed by the media, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has asked doctors in the private sector to report new cases of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) disease, to help the authorities investigate a possible link between the bacterial infection and consumption of a raw fish dish called “yusheng”.
This comes after the MOH and various agencies started an investigation, due to a recent spike in GBS cases. Usually, doctors are not required to submit information to the ministry for GBS, unlike for more serious diseases like tuberculosis. The move shows the authorities are taking investigations seriously, said Mount Elizabeth Novena infectious disease expert, Dr Hsu Li Yang.
The MOH said a week ago that one of the larger hospitals in Singapore saw an average of 53 cases of GBS in the past five years, but treated 76 patients so far this year. Ten of those patients reported recent consumption of raw fish. The numbers furnished did not include private sector patients.
Infectious diseases doctors estimate that there are about 200 cases of severe GBS infection in Singapore so far.
Private sector doctors told Channel NewsAsia at least two new cases emerged in the last week and that of 30 patients interviewed since May, 70 per cent of them told doctors they had eaten raw fish.,
One 52-year-old who contracted GBS disease told Channel NewsAsia his knee swelled to double its normal size and that his joints were so painful he could not move, after eating yusheng.
The MOH has previously said there is no proven link between eating fish, raw or otherwise and GBS disease, in healthy individuals.