Central students, staff receive tuberculin injections

Nathan Liewicki
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An estimated 90 per cent of infected individuals tested for TB

The majority of Central Collegiate staff and students who were identified as contacts of a student diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB) were tested for the disease this week.

Central Collegiate

According to Dr. Michael Schwandt, deputy medical health officer for the Saskatoon-based TB Prevention and Control Saskatchewan (TBPCS) program, about 90 per cent of the 160 staff and students who require testing visited the sixth floor solarium at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital on Monday where they received a tuberculin skin injection.

As for the individuals not tested, Dr. Schwandt told the Times-Herald on Tuesday that the TBPCS staff “will be working extremely closely to make sure all of those people are reached.”

He also noted that testing went smoothly.

“Our staff have a great deal of experience conducting this sort of testing,” said Dr. Schwandt. “There are no particular concerns.”

Two Five Hills Health Region (FHHR) public health nurses and a nurse from TBPCS in Regina administered the injections, an email from Kyle Matthies, vice-president of corporate strategy and communications for the FHHR, confirmed this.

Matthies’ email also noted that creating space at the hospital for the testing was not a challenge for staff.

Each individual tested Monday also required a follow-up observation from a health-care professional on Wednesday

It’s not yet known how many if any individuals tested positive for active TB, but Dr. Schwandt re-iterated that “in this case, we’ve seen no overlap, or no link” with the two other active TB cases identified in Regina students.

All three cases were identified in late July.

As for the Central student who tested positive for active TB, Dr. Schwandt said, “they’re receiving appropriate medical treatment.”

Due to privacy regulations, the TBPCS cannot discuss any personal details of the individual and his or her treatment unless it becomes a public health issue.

If any new cases of active TB are identified by the TBPCS through testing in Moose Jaw, the disease can be treated through antibiotics.

The chances of contracting active TB are, however, very slim. Only about 10 per cent of people infected develop the disease.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

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