Tuberculosis outbreak “under control” in Black Lake and Fond Du Lac First Nations

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A tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in Black Lake and Fond Du Lac First Nations has been declared to be under control by the Athabasca Health Authority.

The outbreak, when first declared on Oct. 8, had no fewer than seven cases in Black Lake and six in Fond Du Lac.

On Oct. 15 the Athabasca Health Authority stated that they are providing ongoing support for all tuberculosis clients,

COVID-19 and tuberculosis are both communicable diseases that primarily attack the respiratory system and share the symptoms of cough, fever and difficulty breathing. 

Tuberculous has a longer incubation period from about two to 12 weeks with a slower onset of disease. A person can remain contagious until they have been on assigned therapy for several weeks. With COVID-19, the incubation period ranges from one to 14 days. The median is 5 to 6 days between exposure and symptom onset.

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The Athabasca Health Authority has been advising that tuberculous patients take extra caution from being infected with COVID-19. An early diagnosis is strongly recommended for prompt treatment. 

“Note that close monitoring with necessary supports will help prevent a possible poorer treatment outcome which may be characterized with TB patients who may test positive for COVID-19,” the Athabasca Health Authority said through a statement on Oct. 8.

“Works [are] underway to effectively manage this identified crisis by reducing the risk of exposure, prevent the spread of the disease and managing the existing one— this is achievable through a collaborative model.”

Jessica Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal

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