Dominica’s Health Minister, Dr. Irving McIntyre, is reporting an increase in tuberculosis cases on the island, resulting in an increase in the number of admissions to the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital.
For 2020 alone, 12 cases have been confirmed with 6 suspected cases.
McIntyre said there were no deaths due to TB and the age of those infected ranges from 33 to 92 with a median age of 57.
Of the 18 cases this year, 11 are from the Roseau Health District and the others were at other districts across the island, he explained.
He said all individuals that have been confirmed of having TB or latent TB are on anti-tuberculosis treatment.
“There are no cases of drug-resistant TB at this time which makes it much easier for patients to be treated and a better recovery as well,” McIntyre said.
Also, a special area has been designated for the admission of TB patients.
Meantime all concern cases are being traced and screened to determine exactly who needs treatment.
McIntyre indicated that 87 “community tracings” has been done so far in the community.
“And that is all the cases we have, we identify the person who may have been in contact with them, whether it is a public meeting place, at their homes or at their neighbour’s home…We identify them and begin the screening”, he said.
He said out of the 87 in the community only 4 were Haitian nationals.
McIntyre added that 400 of their healthcare workers have also been screened so far.
Meantime, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. David Johnson said in the recent past there have been no documented or confirmed deaths in Dominica due to tuberculosis.
He said the treatment of TB in Dominica is of no cost to the patient.
“Currently we have the treatment available for tuberculosis in Dominica,” McIntyre stated.
Johnson believes that the general public is not at an increased risk of contracting tuberculosis.
In 2019, there were 8 confirmed and 2 suspected cases.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment is committed to the elimination of TB by 2030.
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.
If you’re infected, here are some 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.