Health Ministry confirms: No TB outbreak at T&TEC

The Ministry of Health (MoH) continues to work alongside the Management and staff of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Company (T&TEC) to provide Tuberculosis (TB) awareness sessions to their employees. The MoH further advises that Tuberculosis (TB) is not caused by a virus but by a bacterium called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It is often spread by droplets from cough. Risk of exposure is determined by the proximity to the patient, the duration of exposure and the existing environmental factors where the infected person is located. 

TB has two different entities - Disease, and Latent Infection. The disease is an active state of TB where the germs can be transmitted to others and patients may suffer from symptoms which include a persistent fever, weight loss, reduced appetite, coughing with or without blood, usually lasting weeks.

Latent infection or dormant state, indicates that there has been exposure to an infectious case, and there is the presence of dormant TB bacilli in the body. It is not an active form of TB (disease) and doesn’t warrant admission or immediate treatment. 

According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, approximately one quarter of the world's population is estimated to have Latent Tubercolosis Infection (LTBI) of which only 10% can develop active TB disease in their lifetime. 

Further latent TB infected individuals are not infectious to others. Only persons with active TB disease can spread TB bacteria.

The incident at T&TEC cannot be considered an outbreak. An outbreak is declared when there are more TB disease cases than expected within a geographic area or population during a particular time period, and there is evidence of recent transmission of M. tuberculosis among those cases. This is not the case at T&TEC.

The MoH assures the public of Trinidad and Tobago that all protocols have been followed regarding education and testing for the disease. Further educational sessions will be delivered until all concerns are addressed. The Ministry of Health remains committed to the delivery of the best health care to its citizens in this and all other medical circumstances.

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