Of the 300 people in B.C. diagnosed with active TB (tuberculosis) each year, 200 are immigrants from high TB prevalence countries.
“Typically, these are individuals who arrive in Canada with the latent, ‘sleeping’ or inactive infection and then, for some reason, their infection wakes up,” said Dr. Jennifer Gardy, a Senior Scientist at the BC Centre for Disease Control and Assistant Professor at the UBC School of Populationa and Public Health.
Dr. Gardy and other health researchers in BC and other provinces are looking for ways to enhance detection of newcomers in danger of becoming ill with the sometimes fatal disease that typically affects the lungs. Here in BC there are plans that seek to halve the number of active TB cases within a decade. Plans also aim to cut by half TB prevalence in three high-risk populations: immigrants, aboriginal people, and marginalized individuals such as the homeless.
Dr. Jennifer Gardy will be speaking at next week's TB conference in Vancouver. The largest TB conference held annually in North America, the BC Lung Asociation serves as conference secretariat.
TB is the #1 infectious killer in the world. It’s a disease we can diagnose, treat and cure and yet of 10.4 million affected each year, 1.5 million die.