Another TB outbreak in South Australia

A child aged under five in regional South Australia is among a group of people diagnosed with tuberculosis, with the new cluster not linked to an ongoing outbreak in another region.

Sep 27, 2023, updated Sep 27, 2023
Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP

SA Health said on Wednesday afternoon that the cluster was in the state’s eastern Murraylands region, including four active cases diagnosed since April, with most linked as close family members.

“One of the newly diagnosed active cases is a child under the age of five, which is particularly concerning because children are at higher risk of developing severe and more widespread active disease,” chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said.

“Our response for this outbreak will focus on high-risk contacts, who have had frequent, prolonged, and close contact with the initial case, including children.

“Treatment is being provided to all active cases and people with latent infections to help contain the cluster.”

SA Health said the Murraylands TB cluster was not connected to an outbreak in the APY Lands in the state’s Far North West, where 11 cases are currently active and hundreds of people have been screened.

Genomic testing of the Murraylands cluster linked it to a historic case from 2018, with most cases close family members, while nine people had been diagnosed with latent, or ‘sleeping’, tuberculosis.

People with latent tuberculosis do not have symptoms and cannot spread the infection, but over time it can progress to its active form.

Symptoms of tuberculosis include a bad cough that lasts longer than two weeks, chest pain and coughing up blood or phlegm, and sometimes recurrent fevers and weight loss.

SA Health said it did not believe the Murraylands cluster posed a risk to the wider community. It said high-risk contacts were considered to have frequent, prolonged and close contact with an active case, such as living in the same household or dwelling and that was determined by SA TB clinicians.

The Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, local GPs and the Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service are also involved in managing the cluster.

The SA TB service is working with the Aboriginal Public Health team, Department for Health and Wellbeing and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network to co-ordinate testing, treatment of cases and contact tracing.

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

-with AAP

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