Health officials in Dominica have reported four (4) cases of tuberculosis (TB) currently in Dominica which they say is a little more than usual.
“We noticed we have seen a little more than usual based on the confirmation. So far, we have at least confirmed 4 cases based on the different tests that we do,” Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. David Johnson, told Dominica News Online (DNO) during an interview on Tuesday.
He said the results were based on different tests conducted.
Johnson continued, “We did investigations for other individuals who have been exposed and some of the tests that we have done indicate that they are infectious and therefore even whilst we continue to do the number of treatments. As precautionary measures, we would admit these individuals and treat these individuals aggressively to ensure that they do not get full-blown tuberculosis.”
However, the CMO said that the perception that Dominica has a serious problem with tuberculosis is not correct and pointed out that from time to time, TB cases are treated in Dominica.
He explained that it is standard practice that whenever someone is suspected of having tuberculosis and is diagnosed with the disease, that person is admitted to the ward for treatment. He said patients are treated for a period of time and then discharged to the community where their medication continues.
“The treatment for tuberculosis will last for up to six (6) months,” Dr. Johnson stated. “Anytime we treat someone with tuberculosis, we also do something called active investigation.”
He said the process includes environmental health officers, community officers and public health nurses and the patients’ living conditions and place of employment are also investigated.
Dr. Johnson revealed that one sister island had an issue with TB recently and reached out to Dominica for assistance in terms of the medication needed.
“This goes to show the extent in which government ensures that there is adequate treatment for tuberculosis,” he said.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs, but they can also damage other parts of the body. TB spreads through the air when a person with TB of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Coughing is a symptom of tuberculosis.
Tips to help prevent others from getting TB during your first few weeks of treatment, or until your doctor says you’re no longer contagious:
-Take all of your medicines as they are prescribed, until your doctor takes you off them.
-Keep all your doctor’s appointments.
-Don’t visit other people and don’t invite them to visit you.
-Stay home from work, school, or other public places.
-Use a fan or open windows to move around fresh air.
-Don’t use public transportation.