Strong Indication That Cause of Death in Nain Was Tuberculosis

March 22, 2018

The Department of Health and Community Services advises the public that a resident of Nain has died and there is strong indication that the cause of death was tuberculosis (TB). The individual died on Sunday, March 18.

Management of this issue is being coordinated through a team approach involving the Medical Officer of Health, Labrador-Grenfell Health, Eastern Health, the Nunatsiavut Government and the Department of Health and Community Services. Labrador-Grenfell Health and the Nunatsiavut Government are in contact with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Indigenous Services Canada.

Contact tracing is now underway in Nain to identify those individuals who had close contact with the deceased person. Close contacts are those people who have had regular or prolonged contact with a person who tests positive for TB. If a person has been identified as a close contact, they will be contacted by a public health nurse. People are encouraged to work with local health care providers if asked to be checked.

TB is a disease caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The disease-causing bacteria are spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, sharing of smoking devices or talking. People exposed to the bacteria may develop active TB which can affect the lungs or other parts of the body, including the kidneys and spine. Symptoms may include a cough that lasts for two or more weeks, chest pain, loss of appetite, fever, feeling weak or extremely tired and night sweats. People experiencing these symptoms should go directly to their local health care facility. TB is preventable and curable. Treatment to cure TB normally involves taking medication for six to 12 months in the community.

“This sudden death is tragic. I would like to express my sympathy to the family and the community. I want to reassure the public that we are carefully examining the facts of the case. We are starting contact tracing and will be contacting people at risk to offer them testing.”
Delphine Grynszpan
Medical Officer of Health

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Learn more
Newfoundland and Labrador HealthLine – 811

TB resources –

TB and You information pamphlet (English and Inuktitut versions) –

Media contact
Debbie Marnell
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-9048


Some Initiatives Taken to Address TB in Newfoundland and Labrador

Public health officials from multiple governments and agencies have been active in addressing TB in northern Labrador in recent years.

Outbreak Management
An Outbreak Management Team was established by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. The team includes public health officials from Labrador-Grenfell Health, the Nunatsiavut Government’s Department of Health and Social Development, the Provincial Government’s Communicable Disease Control Division and Public Health Laboratory.

TB Diagnostic Technology
Nain has a Sputum Induction Unit at the local clinic, which eliminates infectious airborne bacteria during cough inducing procedures.

The province has access to Rifapentine, an antibiotic used to treat TB. The use of this antibiotic shortens the course of treatment.

TB Database
Labrador-Grenfell Health, Eastern Health and the Nunatsiavut Government have a comprehensive TB database that supports case management and follow-up for all TB patients.

Access to Care
Weekly TB clinics will be reinstated in Nain. Videoconferencing technology is also available and will be used when necessary. The purpose of this clinic is to conduct patient assessment, early detection and data collection.

Cough Registry
All patients who present at the clinic in Nain with a three-week cough history are followed for possible TB infection. Data is collected and entered in the TB Database.

Education and Awareness
Labrador-Grenfell Health and the Nunatsiavut Government have partnered to provide public communication to residents on TB.


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