August 9, 2018 - The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is continuing to manage an outbreak of tuberculosis in the city of Thunder Bay. The outbreak was declared at the beginning of March.
To date, TBDHU has identified eleven cases of active tuberculosis in Thunder Bay associated with this outbreak. Most cases identified have occurred in individuals who lack adequate housing. TBDHU staff has identified and are continuing to screen individuals who may have been exposed to active tuberculosis. TBDHU expects to identify additional cases through this screening process.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis and is treated with antibiotics. Tuberculosis is spread through the air when a person with the disease talks, smokes, coughs, sings or sneezes. Tuberculosis is not very contagious and most people who come into contact with a person with disease do not get infected with the bacteria. The risk to the general public is very low.
“Globally, tuberculosis is still a common disease,” says Dr. Emily Groot, Associate Medical Officer of Health at the TBDHU. “In comparison, the incidence of tuberculosis is low in Canada, as a result of access to healthcare, good housing and nutritious food. We’re very thankful to organizations that are working to address inequities in access in our community.”
Throughout the summer and fall, TBDHU continues to work with community partners to offer screening and treatment for tuberculosis to individuals who are underhoused or experiencing homelessness who may have been exposed.
For more information:
Health Unit Media Line 625-8800
1-888-294-6630, extension 8800