10 days after having a dish of yusheng (raw fish) porridge at Tiong Bahru Food Centre on 15th November, 52 year-old Mr Sim Tham Chun suffered from severe headaches and seizures which put him into a coma and in critical condition at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).
According to doctors, Mr Sim was infected by the notorious Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria, which was widely reported in alternative news media to be the cause of illness for several other cases where Singaporeans fell gravely ill after consuming raw fish.
According to Mr Sim’s wife, the couple had visited Tiong Bahru Food Centre where he had the dish. 3 days later, he suffered from body aches, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. Mr Sim was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance last Thursday after his legs swelled up and he almost lost consciousness.
GBS is a common bacteria found in the gut and urinary tract of 15 to 30 per cent of adults without causing disease in healthy individuals. However, it may occasionally cause infections of the bloodstream, skin and soft tissues, joints, lungs and brain.
KTPH says it is still reviewing the case.
Following online news of a raw fish bacteria causing havoc in otherwise normal healthy adult Singaporeans in June, the authorities were prodded into launching investigations into the correlation between GBS infections and raw fish consumption. In August this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) admitted there their investigations have found an association between GBS infection and the consumption of raw fish sold at food stalls.
However, MOH claims that there has been a “significant downtrend” in the number of GBS cases since mid July, after licensed shops and foodstalls were advised to stop selling raw fish dishes using Song fish and Toman fish.