Pangnirtung TB outbreak declared 6 months ago is still ongoing, GN says

Health Department advisory reports 139 cases diagnosed since January 2021

Nunavut’s Health Department says a TB outbreak declared in Pangnirtung last fall remains ongoing. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The tuberculosis outbreak declared in Pangnirtung in November is still ongoing, according to Nunavut’s Health Department.

A public health advisory from Health spokesperson Chris Puglia states 31 people in the community of about 1,500 have been diagnosed with active TB and 108 have been diagnosed with latent TB since January 2021.

Latent refers to TB that is not contagious, but is treated to prevent it from becoming active, according to the advisory.

The Health Department is advising all community members who have been exposed to someone with TB or who are experiencing symptoms to go to their community clinic for screening as soon as possible.

Symptoms can include a cough that lasts longer than three weeks, tiredness, loss of appetite, and a fever or night sweats.

“TB is a treatable disease with medications available within your community,” the advisory states. “If you have any questions, please contact your local health centre.”

The rate of active TB in Canada is among the lowest in the world, according to Health Canada. However, a March 2018 report by the Public Health Agency of Canada indicates TB rates are almost 300 times higher among Inuit than for the Canadian born non-Indigenous population.

In its 2021 Global TB Report, the World Health Organization states 85 per cent of people who develop TB disease can be successfully treated.

Globally, the WHO estimates diagnosis and treatment of TB has saved 66 million lives.

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