Case of tuberculosis non-infections, says CMO

Chief Medical Officer, Dr The Most Honourable Kenneth George, is assuring the public that the individual identified with a case of tuberculosis (TB) is non-infectious.

Citing a social media post which has been making the rounds, George explained that actions were taken to provide care for and treat the individual, who does not pose a threat. He further noted that the Ministry of Health and Wellness would continue working with the gentleman and his family to ensure that the long-term course of treatment was completed.

He said the Ministry did not share personal health information with the public and lamented that an email sent in confidence to The Barbados Police Service ended up in the public domain.

That email stated that a St Michael man “absconded” from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital prior to the termination of the course of treatment and George requested police to locate him and “for the purposes of protection of the public’s health”, that the man be confined to the QEH for at least two weeks.

George cited the Health Services Act and the Quarantine Regulations of Barbados.

The Chief Medical Officer noted that from time to time, the Ministry reached out to external agencies, including The Barbados Police Service, particularly if there was a threat to public health involving an infectious disease.

TB is an infectious but treatable disease, and although the treatment is prolonged, outcomes are usually good, he explained.

Barbados records approximately two to three cases of tuberculosis annually. And, although most cases are imported, a few come from within the local population.

George reiterated that the public should not be concerned at this time. (PR/SAT)

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and it most often affects the lungs. TB is spread through the air when people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit. A person needs to inhale only a few germs to become infected.

TB is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and also a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.

Common symptoms of TB disease include:

• Prolonged cough

• Chest pain

• Weakness or fatigue

• Weight loss

• Fever

• Night sweats


TB disease is curable. It is treated by standard six-month course of four antibiotics. In some cases the TB bacteria does not respond to the standard drugs. In this case, the patient has drug-resistant TB. Treatment for drug-resistant TB is longer and more complex. (Source: WHO)

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