The Athabasca Health Authority (AHA) says an outbreak of tuberculosis (TB) was officially declared in two northern Saskatchewan communities on Friday.

The executive director of primary health care, Taiwo Olubanwo, said that in Black Lake and Fond Du Lac there are no fewer than seven and six index cases, respectively.

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Tuberculosis Cases on the Rise in Saskatchewan Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

“We recently noted a suspected TB outbreak in some of our communities … evidence suggests a higher incidence rate in both (Fond Du Lac) and Black Lake with evidence of community transmission,” reads a situation report from the AHA.

“Although we have continued to manage the crisis, an enhanced management approach is being developed where cases are more closely monitored with updated management / status reports that are shared regularly.”

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The AHA noted that close follow-up with the necessary supports will help prevent a possible poorer treatment outcome that can be characterized with tuberculosis patients who may test positive for COVID-19.

“As the COVID-19 crisis continues around the world and its effects are felt greatly in certain underserved areas, the management of the tuberculosis crisis may suffer some setbacks if it is not given the necessary attention,” reads the report.

“In north central Saskatchewan currently covered by the AHA, we have recently identified an intensified tuberculosis crisis that we have continued to manage in collaboration with our partners / agencies over time.”

The report said that the AHA is creating a TB / COVID-19 hotline primarily to provide support to customers.

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