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Tuberculosis identified in person who traveled by Greyhound bus

VANCOUVER, BC – The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control is issuing a public health advisory to identify passengers who traveled on Greyhound bus #5098 on Oct. 11 and were exposed to an active case of tuberculosis.

The ill person took Greyhound bus #5098 from Vancouver at 5:45 pm, arrived in Chilliwack at 7:45 pm, left Chilliwack at 8:05 pm and arrived in Kelowna at 11:55 pm, during the infectious stage of the disease. The individual is currently receiving treatment in Kelowna.

The BC Centre for Disease Control, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and Interior Health are working in cooperation with Greyhound to ensure that all contacts of the passenger in question are identified, and appropriately screened. Identified contacts deemed to be at risk of infection will be tested and, if necessary, offered preventative treatment.

The entire route of Greyhound bus #5098 on Oct.11 was: Vancouver – Coquitlam – Langley – Abbotsford – Chilliwack – Hope – Merritt – Westbank – Kelowna bus depot.

Passengers who were on the bus may be at some risk of exposure. As passenger records are incomplete (not all tickets had full names or addresses), this public notification is to help ensure that those who may be at risk contact public health officials.

Persons in BC who were on this bus may call HealthLink BC at 811 to determine whether they need to be tested and for more information.

There is no health risk to the general population. Only passengers who were on this bus at the given times and along the routes listed above are advised to have the TB skin test to help determine whether or not they were infected.

Infection and illness from tuberculosis occur relatively slowly compared to many other infectious diseases. This allows a longer period of time to trace those who may have been exposed when compared to other diseases (such as measles). Those who have had significant exposure – more than four hours – should be tested and, if found to be infected, treated to prevent illness.

Tuberculosis is spread through the air, but the disease is usually only transmitted when there is close, prolonged exposure to an infected person. Sharing clothing, dishes or drinks does not spread the disease. Tuberculosis can appear gradually, with symptoms including fever, ongoing cough with or without sputum, loss of appetite/weight loss, night sweats or chills. Any individual with symptoms possibly consistent with tuberculosis should see a physician for assessment and possible skin testing.

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Media Contact:
Carol Swan/BCCDC Communications
604 707-2412

More information on tuberculosis is available at:
HealthLink BC / Health Files: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca
BCCDC Tuberculosis Page
Public Health Agency of Canada: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/index-eng.php

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Last Updated: January 13, 2012