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TB and Measles Scare in Canada Now

No, Andrew Speaker, the XDR-strain-carrying Atlanta lawyer did not visit Calgary in Canada, still a TB scare has been set off there. Its health officials are testing 200 people who may have been exposed to tuberculosis while visiting a city hospital.

At the same time say a teenage Japanese student suspected of having measles remains in isolation in Vancouver, while 38 others and two of their chaperones are being monitored for symptoms. However, Calgary Health Region's Dr. Robert Cowie yesterday stressed the risk of contracting TB is low and the measures are being taken as a precaution.

"It is not highly infectious - we're just being ultra careful," said the director of the region's tuberculosis clinic. "This particular situation is a low-risk environment." Cowie said 200 people who visited the emergency department at the Peter Lougheed hospital March 27 may have been exposed to a patient with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Letters were sent this month to those people requesting they contact the health region to be tested for possible infection, said Cowie. "It takes eight to 12 weeks before the test for tuberculosis infection becomes positive after someone has been exposed," he said. As of this week, he said about 30 people have been tested and none are positive.

Cowie said the CHR calls for public testing for possible tuberculosis infection as often as 10 times each year. "There's probably no time in the year when we aren't following up with someone who's been exposed to tuberculosis," he said. He said anyone who tests positive for infection would be placed on a four-month course of treatment to ward off the disease.

The patient with pulmonary tuberculosis who attended the emergency department in March was unaware they had the disease, said Cowie. The patient is receiving treatment, which takes up to nine months, he added. Tuberculosis is an infectious disease spread through close contact ov
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