The TB outbreak declared on March 8, 2018, continues in the city of Thunder Bay. Individuals who are street involved, homeless or under-housed continue to be disproportionately affected by TB and HIV.
The TBDHU Infectious Disease and Street Outreach teams continue to do active case finding through testing, screening and contact management with all new cases. The teams assists individuals in accessing treatment and provides support throughout the course of treatment (for both active and latent TB). Given the higher incidence of HIV infection in this outbreak population, TBDHU continues to build upon and work with community and health care partners on prevention strategies, early identification and case and contact management for these Infectious Diseases.
Anyone can get TB, but some people are at higher risk:
- Close contacts of someone with an active TB infection; people who live in the same home or share sleeping space
- People who come to Canada from countries with high rates of TB
- Those who have weakened immune systems due to illness or medications. This includes people with an HIV infection or who are taking medication to treat cancer.,
- People who live in crowded or poorly-ventilated spaces
If you would like to learn more about TB:
If you have any concerns and you want to speak with a nurse, call (807) 625-8318 from Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 pm.
Health care providers caring for this population – including primary care practitioners, Emergency room staff, and other community providers, including social service providers - are strongly encouraged to maintain a high index of suspicion for anyone who may have TB (especially if there are respiratory symptoms present) and order appropriate tests or refer as appropriate. For more information on the TB outbreak as well as epidemiology, diagnosis and testing, treatment and case management, visit the Infectious Diseases Toolkit.
TBDHU has developed a 3 minute video for social service and other community providers to raise awareness about Thunder Bay’s current tuberculosis (TB) outbreak impacting those who are street-involved, including individuals who are homeless or precariously housed.
We encourage providers to view and share this video as those who are impacted the outbreak who may be involved with various community organization for services and support.
Since the outbreak was called in 2018 (11 cases), an additional 2 to 5 cases per year have been identified, raising the total outbreak cases to 23. This does not include individuals who may have latent TB (LTBI) due to possible exposure to an active TB case. The same population is also impacted by higher rates of HIV infection, which further weakens the immune system, increasing the risk of developing active TB disease. Co-infection with both is not uncommon.
Please direct any questions about the outbreak or the video to the Infectious Disease Program: (807) 625-8318 or toll-free 1-888-294-6630
A positive test indicates that a person may have a latent TB infection (LTBI) as a result of being exposed to the TB germ. If someone is positive, they will be assessed for active disease, receive a chest x-ray and be offered medication by a prescribing clinician. It is recommended that they take the medication as 10% of those with LTBI will develop active TB.
It is a simple test that injects a small amount of test liquid under the skin. The test must be read 2 days later so the results can be interpreted. There is no risk of getting TB from taking the test.
The TBDHU does not provide the TST for employment or school purposes. Please see your healthcare provider.
However, the TST is offered FREE to those who have been in contact with a person who has active TB. The TBDHU will let someone know if they have been named as a contact and will arrange for the test.
For Further Information
Call the Infectious Disease Program: (807) 625-8318 or toll-free 1-888-294-6630