Manitoba

40 children at St. James daycare to be tested for tuberculosis

Forty children at the YMCA-YWCA Child Care Centre in St. James will be tested for tuberculosis infection starting next week.

WRHA won't say who had TB but preschoolers to be tested starting Tuesday

In a letter dated Feb. 8, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority advised parents that their child may have been exposed to an individual with infectious tuberculosis. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Forty children at the YMCA-YWCA Child Care Centre in St. James will be tested for tuberculosis infection starting next week.

In a letter dated Feb. 8, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority advised parents that children attending the daycare at 3550 Portage Ave. may have been exposed to an individual with infectious tuberculosis (TB) disease.

The WRHA said the exposure happened in the fall. 

"The risk for exposure in this situation is very low," said Dr. Heejune Chang, a medical officer of health. "We are doing this more because of the age of the children. We are exercising an abundance of caution because at a younger age, TB infection can be more serious and harder to detect."
Children at this St. James daycare will undergo testing next week to determine if they were infected with TB. The WRHA is declining to say whether it was a staff member or a visitor who may have exposed the children to the infection. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Chang wouldn't say if the infected person was an employee at the daycare or a visitor or the length of time the children may have been exposed. The WRHA said TB infection is passed from person to person through the air and is usually not very contagious.

Chang said people need to spend a long period of time close to someone who is infected in order to get sick themselves. Some of the symptoms include fever, fatigue and respiratory issues. 

Chang said the person who was infected was isolated and received treatment. 

2nd time children at a daycare tested for TB 

The YMCA-YWCA Child Care Centre declined to talk about the TB exposure and referred requests to the WRHA.

Chang said it is unusual for public health officials to be conducting an investigation of this scale, meaning a daycare.  But it is not the first. Another Winnipeg day care was investigated for TB in 2013, Chang said, although she declined to indentify which one.

"We are modelling our current response with this daycare with that response. It went quite well. We are modelling how we communicated with daycare administration, with parents and staff. And we have public health specialists who were involved in the previous investigation involved in this one. So they have been very helpful in this because they have prior experience," said Chang.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority advised parents that children attending the daycare at 3550 Portage Ave. may have been exposed to an individual with infectious tuberculosis (TB). 1:39

Testing starts Tuesday

Public health nurses specializing in TB will be at the child care centre Tuesday and Thursday to assess the preschoolers. Parents will be interviewed about their child's health. A tuberculin skin test (TST or Mantoux) will be done and a referral for a chest X-ray will be given. Parents can also attend on Thursday to learn the results of the skin test. Chang said staff at the daycare will also be tested. 

Parents at the daycare Thursday afternoon said they were concerned but had questions such as whether, if their preschooler was being tested, their other children should also be tested.

One relative of one of the preschoolers said she was worried, but did not want to be identified.

The WRHA letter provided the name and contact information of a public health nurse parents can reach for further information.

Corrections

  • We initially reported that officials believed the exposure happened at the beginning of 2017. In fact, the WRHA later corrected that to say the exposure happened in the fall.
    Feb 09, 2017 6:23 PM CT