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Children, staff at Arviat daycare may have been exposed to TB

Staff and children who use the daycare in Arviat, Nunavut, are being advised to get tested for tuberculosis (TB) after possible exposure at the facility.

Nunavut’s chief public health officer urging people at facility to get tested

Nunavut's chief public health officer says children and staff at Arviat's daycare may have been exposed to tuberculosis, and should contact their health centre to get tested. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)

Nunavut's health department is advising staff and children who use the daycare in Arviat, Nunavut, to get tested for tuberculosis (TB) after possible exposure at the facility.

In a news release Thursday, Nunavut's chief public health officer said children and workers at the daycare may have come in contact with active TB and should contact their health centre to get screened.

TB is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria that spreads through the air when someone coughs, sneezes or, in some cases, talks, according to Health Canada.

It typically affects the lungs, but it can also impact other organs, the federal government says.

TB can also remain dormant, meaning the germs can remain in a person's body but may not make them sick, or allow them to spread the disease to others. However, if this is not treated, it can lead to active TB, the chief public health officer warns.

Longer or frequent exposure to someone with active TB can increase the risk of infection, the news release said.

"A positive TB test usually means that an individual shared airspace with someone who has active TB," it adds.

Anyone with symptoms of TB is urged to visit their health centre as soon as possible. The chief public health officer says it can be treated within the community.

Symptoms of active TB include:

  • A cough that lasts longer than three weeks. 
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Experiencing a fever or night sweats. 

First Nations, Inuit and Métis make up only five per cent of the Canadian population, but according to public health officials, in 2016 they accounted for almost 20 per cent of reported cases of active tuberculosis.

In 2018, the federal government dedicated $27.5 million to fighting the disease in Inuit communities, and eliminating it among Inuit by 2030. The government of Nunavut spends around $10 million a year on treatment alone.

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