New active TB cases now at 21 in three Nunavik communities — Salluit, Umiujaq and Kuujjuaq

Arctic Winter Games trials will go on in Salluit


Some 60 people in Nunavik are receiving treatment for latent tuberculosis which shows they have been infected with the TB bacteria, shown here. (FILE IMAGE)

Some 60 people in Nunavik are receiving treatment for latent tuberculosis which shows they have been infected with the TB bacteria, shown here. (FILE IMAGE)

The Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services says the tally of active cases of tuberculosis in Nunavik now stands at now at 21: 15 in Salluit, two in Kuujjuaq and four in Umiujaq.

“Even though all active cases of tuberculosis are well managed, it is important to remain vigilant. Tuberculosis can only be effectively controlled with the collaboration of the affected communities,” said Dr. Francoise Bouchard, Nunavik’s acting director of public health.

About 60 people are receiving treatment for latent tuberculosis, the health board said June 19.

That figure comes after information that about 50 per cent of high school students who were tested in Salluit were found to be latent carriers of TB.

They’re now receiving at 10-month course of medication, Elena Labranche, Nunavik’s assistant director of public health, said at last month’s meeting of the Kativik Regional Government council in Kangiqsujuaq.

As a result of the outbreak and uncertainty over how many people in Salluit could have either latent or active cases of TB, planned Arctic Winter Games trials scheduled for May in the community were cancelled.

Those trials would have seen youth from many communities boarding with local families in Salluit.

But the health board said June 19 that no other sporting or social events will need to be cancelled.

That prompted the Kativik Regional Government to announce June 19 that the AWG-Hudson coastal trials will be take place in Salluit, from July 12 to July 15.

The health board still recommended June 19 that Nunavimmiut should avoid visits to houses where gambling occurs or where inhaled drugs are shared (the so-called gathering houses, which public health officials first asked people to avoid in 2012).

There people can spend hours in overcrowded and poorly ventilated environments, so that increases the risk of infection, if there’s someone present who has an undiagnosed case of TB, the health board says.

Public health officials say youth often don’t go to the local health clinics when they have some of the symptoms of TB.

But Bouchard said June 19 that anyone with a “unusual cough” that lasts for more than three weeks or who knows someone with that symptom “must” go to the local health clinic and follow any recommended treatment.

Most people infected with the tuberculosis bacillus, or germ, don’t become ill or even know they are infected, because the germ can lie dormant in a person’s lungs for many years.

But, without treatment, TB can eventually kill by gradually eating away at the lungs or, in rare cases, by spreading to other organs.

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