Public Health investigating two cases of tuberculosis in Cape Breton

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Public Health team is following up with people who may have had an exposure to tuberculosis (TB) between September 22-25, 2017 at Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

“It is routine process for us to follow-up with people who may have been exposed, at the hospital and in the community,” said Dr. Eilish Cleary, interim Medical Officer of Health for the Antigonish-Strait-Cape Breton region. “While we believe the risk to be low, it’s important that we follow up with individuals and provide testing if needed.”

 Tuberculosis is transmitted through the air and generally takes prolonged, close contact with the infectious case for someone to contract tuberculosis.

Part of Public Health’s investigation includes identifying and directly contacting people who may have stayed in hospital or had a medical appointment on several units of the hospital during the same time a patient with active tuberculosis disease was in hospital.

“Testing will allow us to identify if anyone else has been infected with the TB germ and to then determine next steps if treatment is needed,” says Dr. Cleary.

In conjunction with Public Health’s investigation and response, the health authority’s Occupational Health and Safety and Infection Prevention and Control teams have been following up with staff and physicians directly and providing testing as needed.

There have been a total of two tuberculosis cases in Cape Breton area since September. To date, no additional active tuberculosis cases have been identified through the investigation. Tuberculosis is treatable. More information about TB is available here.

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