Four TB cases confirmed by GT Hospital

| 01/10/2015 | 18 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Hospital, George Town

(CNS): Four patients are being treated at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town after contracting tuberculosis (TB), public health officials said Thursday. Investigations are now underway to determine if the patients may have exposed others to the illness and to test those individuals as soon as possible. Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Williams-Rodriguez said the hospital was following international standards in its response and working “assiduously to prevent transmission of tuberculosis in the Cayman Islands”.

He expressed his confidence in the medical team in charge of the patients and expected they would have a prompt and complete recovery.

These four patients bring the total number of cases of TB in Cayman this year to seven. Since 2010 there have been 23 confirmed cases of TB here. Twenty-one were pulmonary and two were extra pulmonary, and impacted eight different nationalities.

Officials have not said where the current patients come from or where they were believed to have picked up the infectious disease. CNS has asked government officials if the patients could have contracted TB overseas or here in Cayman and we are awaiting a response.

Health officials said people can protect themselves from TB by understanding what it is and how it is spread. People who think they may have been exposed to someone with TB should contact their doctor or the Public Health Department.

“Tuberculosis is an airborne disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person,” said Dr Williams-Rodriguez. “It usually affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.  TB germs become airborne when a person who has the disease in the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings. Persons who have close contact for a prolonged period of time with an infectious patient such as household members or coworkers in enclosed areas are at higher risk of contagion.”

Symptoms of tuberculosis include weakness, weight loss, night sweats, sneezing, a severe cough (usually for more than three weeks), spitting up phlegm and blood and a high fever for three or more days. Anyone who presents with these symptoms is asked to contact their doctor immediately so that care and contact tracing can be further pursued

The immunisation manager and nurse, Angela Graham, stressed the importance of vaccination to mitigate infections or transmission.

“One vaccine approved by WHO to combat tuberculosis infection is already routinely given in the Cayman Islands as part of the immunisation schedule. The combined Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is part of the routine Childhood Immunisation Schedule, and is offered at six weeks.  When given under one year, it provides protection for children against the most severe forms of TB.”

The Public Health Department maintains adequate stocks of the vaccine and parents/guardians are asked to check the records of their child or children to ensure appropriate vaccination.

Patients who have received adequate treatment with regular anti-TB medications for two weeks are usually no longer infectious. In fact, if a patient is improving clinically with medication, the possibility of infecting other persons is very low, according to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

For information regarding immunisations, contact your private doctor or the following district health centres:

Public Health Department (George Town):  244-2648

West Bay Health Centre:      949-3439

Bodden Town Health Centre:  947-2299

East End Health Centre:    947-7440

North Side Health Centre:  947-9525

Faith Hospital, Cayman Brac:  948-2243

Little Cayman Clinic:   948-0072

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It already has reached TripAdvisor. All the news reaches TripAdvisor the day it is printed even if it is not discussed there- the tourists have read about it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Keep bringing in all these low cost workers from impoverished places in the world where they do not immunize and they live in very poor conditions and this is just one of the great benefits that come with the low cost labor, free disease!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is it true that temporary permit holders do not require a medical? If so, this is completely idiotic and needs to be revised asap!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I can see the professionals needed on island for a couple of days who live abroad spending $1500 on a health check.

      • Anonymous says:

        8:42 Stayover tourists and people owning property here don’t need medicals either – you planning to change that?

      • Anonymous says:

        Health checks can cost less than that. An epidemic will cost us more. There is no price on life. Protect the islands’ population as much as possible.

  4. Selena says:

    And there is ONLY 55,00 people on this island. If they can’t effectively prevent and control infectious diseases they are incompetent.
    See what happens when this news reaches TripAdvisor.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All of you anti vaccination parents out there get your heads out of your arses and protect your children.

    • Sam says:

      Why don’t you worry about your own children. No one is against TB vaccine. People are against aluminum, mercury and other adjuvants loaded vaccines. They are against lumping up several vaccines in one shot which increases its toxic load. People are against vaccinating newborns against STD. People are against gardasil vaccines that mess up girls autonomic nervous system and deliver zero benefits. People are not against all vaccines. Prudent parents do research, make their doctor order vaccines with no adjuvants and spread vaccination over longer periods.

      • Anonymous says:

        The infinitesimal quantity of thimerosal in a BCG shot is harmless. There’s more mercury in your maki roll. The vaccine has spared millions since 1921, but it won’t cure stupid.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Despite what you read in this story there are strains of TB that are drug-resistant.

    One of the ironies of the immigration health checks is they test for AIDS almost to the point of obsession but ignore TB, which is far easier to spread. I worked in the Pacific some years ago and they operated exactly the opposite policy, with mandatory testing for TB while AIDS was considered to be a minor risk. A similar policy applies to Occupational Health Screening in the UK.

    • Anonymous says:

      Immigration do check for TB. It is the reason for the chest X-ray.

      • Anonymous says:

        The chest x-ray won’t detect latent TB, which is apparently the cause of the majority of infections in the UK’s current outbreak. It would make much more sense to do the skin test .

        • Anonymous says:

          But as I understand it the the skin test gives false positives if you have the BCG vaccination. Can anyone confirm?

          • Anonymous says:

            10:57 The skin test can give false positives so people who had a BCG shot need to be screened with a blood test.

            • Anonymous says:

              Thank you. So why not just screen everyone with a blood test and scrap X-rays and skin tests entirely. Blood is taken from everyone anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      5:39 This is probably related to how much people are making out of x-rays and blood tests rather than any health screening issues. Take AIDS tests – they can be done with an FDA-approved rapid test kit that costs under $20, you don’t need a lab, but those are banned here. If the health screening process was updated (and I don’t mean dumbed down because it would be more effective) the local clinics doing WP medicals would lose out big time.

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