THUNDER BAY - The Thunder Bay District Health Unit have diagnosed two more patients with tuberculosis, bringing the total to 11 people in Thunder Bay.
In March, TBHU reported an outbreak which affected four patients at the times. The total rose to nine in May, with the majority of the infected being either homeless or lacking adequate housing conditions.
“When somebody who has active disease is identified, we contact them and follow up with them to see who they’ve spent time with,” said Emily Groot.
Groot, the associate medical officer of health at TBHU, explained that tuberculosis is of very low risk to the general public. Groot says the disease is not very contagious, and would only spread if an individual is living in close quarters with the infected.
After infection, individuals can develop either latent tuberculosis or active tuberculosis, with the former not being contagious at all.
Groot says 11 is a manageable number of cases, but has strained some of their resources.
“It has been very challenging to our outbreak resources, this is an unusually large outbreak.”
Symptoms of the active tuberculosis include coughing, chest pain, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever and night sweats. It is treatable with antibiotics.
Anyone suffering from these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
Groot said they will continue to follow up with patients and their families, and are working with Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health to try and identify future strategies.