TB cases detected on Moala Island, Lau

Fiji’s Ministry of Health has reported recording 21 cases of Tuberculosis (TB) on the island of Moala in Lau.

Twenty new cases were detected following a screening exercise across the eight villages and communities on Moala Island on 25 October, two days after a mono-drug resistant TB case from Maloku village was admitted at the Tamavua Twomey Hospital.

“Following the admission, a specialist team from the Ministry’s TB Control Program commenced a week-long pre-emptive whole-population TB screening exercise for the villages and communities on Moala Island,” a ministry of health statement said.

“The screening effort identified two (2) more laboratory-confirmed TB cases, and eighteen (18) clinically presumptive cases of TB with very low risk of spread, in Maloku village.”

The new cases the ministry says are now undergoing supervised intensive treatment and managed in isolation from the community by the health team on the island. 

“Consistent with WHO endorsed practices and standards, our health workers can efficiently detect TB cases using the available spectrum of diagnostic methods, and render TB confirmed cases non-infectious, with immediate treatment, using highly effective anti-TB drugs, available at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. As such in keeping with modern practice, there is no need for escalated public health measures (such as lockdown protocols) to be enforced.”

With the detection of these TB cases, the ministry has deployed additional medical staff to Moala Island to assist with the community and individual infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, and personal hygiene awareness and practice. 

The health team on the island has also established an intensive, coordinated, and community collaborative monitoring mechanism for adherence to treatment for those now on anti-TB medications.

With the support of Minister for Health Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete, the ministry is also carrying out an awareness and advocacy campaign across the island on the importance of adhering to TB preventative measures, and to all possible visitors to the island for the upcoming holidays and festive season.

What is TB?

TB is a disease caused by the germ mycobacterium tuberculosis. It usually affects the lungs, but can also cause serious infections in other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. TB can be fatal for infected individuals who do not get medical treatment in a timely manner.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of TB?

The general symptoms of TB disease include feeling sick or weak, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. 

The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and coughing up blood in sputum. 

How is TB Spread?

TB germs are suspended in the air for several hours, depending on the environment, when a person with TB disease of the lungs coughs, sneezes speaks, or sings. Persons who inhale air containing these respiratory droplets of TB germs can become infected

How can TB be prevented and treated?

Good personal hygiene can prevent the spread of TB. Generally, coughing into a handkerchief or disposable tissue can prevent the spread of any airborne disease including TB. Wearing a mask when in a community and or household where a TB case is detected until the risk of spread is minimized, is also important. TB can be treated and cured successfully with anti-TB medications. Adhering to the instructions of a healthcare worker who is supervising and supporting the care of TB cases will ensure successful treatment.

Any individual presenting with the abovementioned signs and symptoms of TB should visit their nearest health facility for immediate attention and treatment.

Foodie Night 1327x198 ad(1)
Top Stories