#Nassau, December 13, 2019 – Bahamas – The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that as a part of its daily routine screenings in the hurricane shelters, one case of Tuberculosis (TB) was suspected and the patient admitted to the hospital for treatment. Once active TB was confirmed, the contact tracing protocol began and persons who may have come into contact with the individual (a student) are being contacted and tested for TB exposure/infection.
As of 11th December, 2019, two hundred seventy-three (273) persons in the Kendal G. L. Isaacs shelter have been screened. Of that number sixty-three (63) had positive skin tests, indicating an exposure to TB at some time in their past. As a part of the TB protocol those persons will also receive a chest x-ray to determine whether they have active TB or were merely exposed to someone with TB. At the school that the student attends, thirty-six (36) persons were also screened. As the results from the skin test have to be read between 48 hours and 72 hours after placement, those results are pending.
Although the active case was identified in the shelter, it does not mean that is where the infection originated. According to Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands, “the person has active TB, we do not know where it was acquired, and all of the contacts have to be traced.”
In The Bahamas the TB rate is less than 20 per 100,000 making The Bahamas a low “incidence” country. The Ministry of Health wishes to remind the public to always practice proper handwashing, coughing and sneezing hygiene to help prevent the spread of any infections. Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a bacteria that usually affects the lungs or throat where the disease may be infectious.
TB can also attack other parts of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain where it is usually not infectious. TB is a disease that is spread through the air. When a person with active TB disease coughs, sneezes, talks or spits, people nearby may breathe in the bacteria and may become infected.
People with active TB disease are most likely to spread it to people they spend time with every day. This can include family members, friends, and co-workers.
For some people who breathe in the Tuberculosis bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria and it remains inactive in their body. This is called latent TB infection.
People with latent TB infection-
· have no symptoms
· do not feel sick
· cannot spread TB to others
· usually have a “positive”, TB skin test reaction and
· can develop active TB disease if they do not receive treatment for latent TB disease infection.
In other persons with latent TB, especially those who have weak immune systems, the bacteria can become active and cause TB disease.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis depend on where in the body the bacteria grows. TB in the lungs may cause symptoms such as-
· a bad cough that lasts longer than 2 weeks,
· pain in the chest and,
· coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs).
Other symptoms of active TB disease include-
· weakness or fatigue,
· weight loss,
· no appetite,
· fever and
· sweating at night.
People with active TB disease can be treated and cured with medical help. Additionally people with latent TB infection can take medication so that they will not develop active TB disease.
You should get tested for Tuberculosis if-
· you have spent time with a person known to have active TB disease or suspected to have active TB disease.
· you have HIV infection or another condition that puts you at high risk for active TB disease. · you think you might have active TB disease.
· you inject illicit drugs.
Released: Ministry of Health