Tuberculosis still spreading in Pangnirtung
Numbers released Friday show 161 people with active or latent TB
The number of tuberculosis cases in Pangnirtung continues to rise, according to numbers released by Nunavut’s Health Department.
As of Friday, 126 people in the hamlet have been diagnosed with latent TB and 35 others with active TB since January 2021.
Three months ago, there had been 108 people diagnosed with latent TB and 31 with active TB.
Latent TB is not contagious but still needs to be treated, according to the department.
The health department recently committed to publicly reporting the number of TB cases in Pangnirtung every three months.
The Government of Nunavut declared a TB outbreak in the hamlet of about 1,600 people back in November 2021.
Tuberculosis, which is treatable with medication, is a bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs. It spreads through airborne droplets caused by sneezing or coughing, and without treatment can be serious.
A March 2018 report by the Public Health Agency of Canada indicated tuberculosis rates are close to 300 times higher among Inuit than for the Canadian-born, non-Indigenous population.
The news release from the health department said anyone who has been exposed to an active TB case, or who has TB symptoms, should visit a health centre for screening.
The following are symptoms of active TB:
- A cough that lasts longer than three weeks.
• Feeling very tired.
• Loss of appetite.
• A fever or night sweats.