They are not calling it an outbreak, but health officials in Dominica have confirmed a number of cases of tuberculosis (TB), with some five cases recorded to date.
Dominica’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. David Johnson has confirmed to DNO that a number of people have been hospitalised at the Imary ward of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) suffering from TB.
“I can confirm to you that presently we have five cases at the PMH with TB and they are isolated and I want to tell the public that we are taking all the necessary measures to safe guard the public,” Dr. Johnson said.
According to him, all the cases are that of drug addicts and alcoholics.
The CMO said the ministry of health in collaboration with the PMH are taking all the necessary steps to safeguard health care workers.
“We do not have an outbreak of TB and there is no cause for alarm by the general public. The ministry of health is in control of the situation and we just want the public to be aware of what is happening and take the necessary steps to safeguard themselves,” he said.
Dr. Johnson stated that of the current five cases, three are new while the others are reoccurrences.
He said that the Ministry of health has also been doing follow up work after persons affected with TB are released hence they are able to follow their life pattern.
“We follow them into the community and ensure they take the necessary medications…so we are very much on top of the matter,” he said.
At present, a third of the world’s population (more than 2 billion people) are infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.
However, only one in 10 infected people will show signs of the disease.
This is known as active tuberculosis.
In the UK in 2009, over 9,000 people were reported to have active tuberculosis.
Although the number of people getting tuberculosis had been dropping since the 1950s, this number has been increasing again each year since the late 1980s.
Tuberculosis occurs most often in major cities.
This is because there are more risk factors in cities, such as overcrowded housing and more people arriving from countries where there is a higher rate of tuberculosis.