August 3, 2012
TB cases: ‘No cause for alarm’ – Health Minister

There were on Monday six confirmed cases of tuberculosis at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).{{more}}

But Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment Clayton Burgin assured the nation that there is no cause for alarm.

Burgin said that the required protective gear and medication, as well as dedicated rooms, are available to adequately and appropriately manage the reported cases at the country’s premier health care facility.

A release from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment also said on Monday that the nation had recorded 15 cases of tuberculosis (TB) for the year.

In St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the occurrence of pulmonary tuberculosis is not an unusual event and 10-15 cases are usually diagnosed annually, the Ministry said in the statement.

It said the cases recorded at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital are “consistent with the normal incidence”.

Tuberculosis is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, a bacterium that primarily affects the lungs, but can attack other parts of the body.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is airborne and its transmission is possible when nuclei droplets are emitted when an infected person with TB speaks, sneezes, coughs or sings.

The possible symptoms of tuberculosis may include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.

Persons exhibiting these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately, the Ministry said.

At-risk persons include HIV infected individuals, persons who were infected with TB in the previous two years, and persons with other health problems, such as diabetes, as well as person of extreme low socio-economic status, the Ministry said.

In SVG, persons confirmed as having contracted tuberculosis may be discharged from the hospital at least two weeks after treatment has been initiated.

In order to minimize the risk of transmission of any respiratory illness of infectious origin, one of the internationally recommended prevention methods is the use of Personnel Protective Equipment, such as masks, gowns, and boots for both health care providers and clients, in addition to home and institution isolation, when possible.