Scientific Programme




     Pre- and Post-Congress Workshops










Having a multidisciplinary congress like this is very useful. The tracks for the Academic Clinical Programmes sets a standard and creates a platform for interprofessional as well as inter-institutional staff to come together to share on research, education and clinical service advancement.                








~ Prof Celia Tan
Group Director, Allied Health, SingHealth


Programme >

Infectious Disease Symposium
Saving The World From Pestilence


 Track type: Symposium


 Duration: 90 minutes


 Location: Academia, Level 2, L2-S3 Exp


Topic 1:

Prognostic Approaches to Severe Dengue Diagnosis

Prof Bridget Wills


Dengue is one of the most abundant vector-borne disease globally. The clinical spectrum of symptomatic infections is broad, ranging from mild febrile illness to severe disease with potentially life-threatening complications, most notably plasma leakage that may result in dengue shock syndrome. In the absence of specific treatment, good outcomes depend primarily on appropriate triage, careful monitoring, and judicious use of intravenous fluid therapy, but the resulting burden on healthcare facilities in endemic areas is significant. However, as the severe manifestations occur relatively late, a potential window of opportunity exists during which to identify patients likely to progress. Although a number of warning signs are recommended to identify these potentially severe cases early, the evidence base to support these recommendations is presently limited; simple and inexpensive strategies are urgently needed to improve case management and facilitate appropriate use of resources.
Prof Wills will review current knowledge of the risk factors associated with poor outcome in dengue, focusing particularly on clinical signs and symptoms, and on conventional investigations that are usually accessible in mid-level healthcare facilities in endemic areas. A variety of more specialised viral, immunological and vascular biomarkers that have the potential to improve risk prediction will also be discussed.

Topic 2:

Outbreak of Invasive Group B Streptococcus Infections in Singapore

Dr Shirin Kalimuddin

Streptococcus agalactiae, also known as Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a common human commensal, colonising up to 35% of humans of all age groups. It is a well-described cause of life-threatening infections in neonates and immunocompromised adults, but only rarely causes invasive disease in healthy adults. Since early 2015, however, there was an observed change in GBS infections in Singapore, with a significant increase in the number of severe infections caused by Serotype III ST283 GBS in otherwise healthy adults. The spectrum of disease included bacteremia, septic arthritis, meningitis and endocarditis – all of which are very rarely seen in this patient demographic. Detailed investigation of this clonal outbreak using epidemiological and molecular methods revealed a strong association between raw freshwater fish consumption and invasive GBS disease. A subsequent ban in the sale of raw freshwater fish in Singapore resulted in successful curtailment of the outbreak.

Topic 3: 

Insights into Host-Pathogen Interactions during Acinetobacter Baumannii Pneumonia

 Asst Prof Bindu Sukumaran

Acinetobacter baumannii is a major nosocomial bacterium that has emerged as a serious health threat globally mainly due to its remarkable ability to develop resistance to all known antibiotics. Hospital-acquired pneumonia remains the most common clinical manifestations of A. baumannii infection that is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in immune-compromised patients. With limited antimicrobials in the pipeline, there is an urgent need to develop alternative strategies to combat this growing threat. Defining host-bacterial interaction mechanisms is critical to the development of new therapeutic options. A complex interplay between the bacterial pathogen and the pulmonary immune system ultimately decides the clinical outcome of pneumonia. However, mechanisms of pulmonary host defense to A. baumannii infection are poorly understood and our studies aimed to characterise this. NOD-like receptors (NLRs) are important intracellular innate immune receptors that are implicated in infection control, inflammation and tissue injury. Although NLRs have been implicated in several pulmonary bacterial infections, whether they play any role in the pathogenesis of A. baumannii infection is not known. Through in vitro and in vivo murine pneumonia infection models, we demonstrate that NLRs play key roles in the host defense and pathophysiology associated with A. baumannii lung infection. Our studies may provide new insight into the development of novel therapeutic approaches to tackle antibiotic-resistant A. baumannii infections.

Topic 4:
Development on Pathogen Discovery Technologies
Central nervous system (CNS) infections result in significant morbidity and mortality worldwide.  However, the vast majority of CNS infections remain without an identified aetiology. In order to better understand the causes of meningitis, encephalitis, and infectious acute flaccid paralysis in Singapore eligible patients are currently being recruited from six major public hospitals in Singapore, which cover approximately 90% of all acute CNS infection cases in the country. To identify novel pathogens in these samples, we have adopted a deep sequencing approach. 
The principal problem encountered when employing next-generation sequencing (NGS) directly on patient samples is the high ratio of host to viral RNA. To compensate for this, we developed a hybridisation-based enrichment strategy consisting of virus-specific 120nt, biotinylated oligodeoxynucleotides to capture viral genomic material from an NGS library prepared directly from patient sample. The final probeset we have developed for this study consists of  approximately 57,000 unique probes covering 981 viral species.
The strategy developed here allowed us to significantly enrich viral genomic material relative to unenriched material. The resulting genome data not only serves to identify the pathogen, but also for phylogenetic analysis to describe the most likely origin of the identified pathogens. Implementation of this platform will help to identify pathogens in this cohort that would otherwise go undetected by conventional methodologies.
*Information is correct at time of update