Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday there are two confirmed cases of tuberculosis (TB) on New Providence.
He said one patient is a student at Government High School and the other is a student at A.F. Adderley Junior High School.
“We would’ve been made aware of this; certainly the surveillance unit would’ve notified me of that on Friday,” Sands said.
“The ordinary protocol is to then notify the school, the administrators, the teachers, students, the parents, etc. That process has started.
“Now, we have to do the appropriate screening of contacts. Now, the definition of contact is determined by the surveillance team and specifically the team with responsibility for tuberculosis. We are fortunate now that the incidents of tuberculosis cases in The Bahamas is below 14 per 100,000.”
In November 2017, Sands revealed that there were four confirmed cases of active TB on Eleuthera and 380 confirmed cases of people with positive Mantoux skin tests for tuberculosis on that island.
On New Providence, the number of teachers and students with positive Mantoux skin tests for tuberculosis at R.M. Bailey Senior High School was 36, at the time.
When asked if there was any concern with regard to the recent cases, Sands said, “Anytime you have exposure of an individual to an infectious disease of whatever kind that is contagious that is cause for concern. But it is unavoidable and speaks to the need to have a robust public health program in place, which we do.”
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease of the lungs which is spread through the air from one person to another.
It is not spread by contact with clothes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, handshakes, toilets or other surfaces.
The symptoms of tuberculosis include a bad cough lasting three weeks or longer, chest pain, coughing up blood or phlegm from deep inside the lungs, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating all night.