March 24, 2015
Remote Inuit communities face a higher burden of TB disease than the rest of Canada. Because of the remote location and shortage of health human resources, there is no laboratory testing for active tuberculosis (TB) disease in Nunavut. The Nunavut Xpert® study determined that it was possible to implement Xpert® MTB/RIF in the remote community of Iqaluit, Nunavut with accurate results. Time to treatment initiation was shortened significantly, particularly for patients with smear negative, culture positive disease. Health care providers also found that this test was very useful for rapidly ruling out TB disease for people with TB-like symptoms but did not have TB. This technology could have an important role in improving health equity in TB diagnosis in remote, high burden regions of Canada.
Gonzalo G. Alvarez MD, MPH, FRCPC