06 June 2008

Consumption, anyone?

Well, in a very surprising turn of events, we found out this week that Dotter has latent tuberculosis! You probably didn't think people GOT tuberculosis in Australia, did you (I know I didn't!) - but Australia has ~5 cases per 100,000 people - a very low rate, but definitely there. There's a good information sheet available here.

There was a student with active TB at Dotter's school, in one of her computing classes, coughing, untreated, and very infectious (they've now been treated, of course, and are hopefully much better!).

The ACT Health Department / Canberra Hospital screened around 170 students and staff who were in contact with this person, and Dotter (along with others) has had a positive test result. Her chest x-ray was clear, so she doesn't have active TB, and isn't infectious (so none of her family or friends needs to be tested).

When exposed to TB, the body basically 'encapsulates' the bacteria, and it stays in the system. In about 10% of cases, the TB later becomes active, and that's when the person gets very sick (coughing, fevers etc leading to death if untreated) and is infectious.

Because of her autoimmune problems (the type 1 diabetes, and what is starting to looking more like lupus, unfortunately), she is at very high risk of the latent TB becoming active within the next few years - it's almost a certainty. The TB Nurse said in her 9 years of working in this area Dotter was the most at risk person she'd ever come across (!), and the doctor was similarly emphatic about her being treated.

So.

She'll be on a special TB-specific antibiotic (provided free by the Hospital) for 6 months, and needs to have regular blood tests to check that her liver is coping with the drug OK, and will also be on a Vitamin B6 supplement. Side effects can include things like pins and needles in her hands and feet, and increased fatigue (!!). She'll be closely monitored over the time.

Bugger bugger bugger.

25 comments:

  1. This may sound terrible but thanks for the eye opener. I would have thought that TB went out the window like small pox. I'm glad that the doctors are getting on top of it and will monitor her.

    Give that girl a big hug from me :)

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  2. Well that's just craptastic! Bless her dear heart! Thank God for modern medicine and disease-specific antibiotics. Sounds like she might consider taking a term off from school.

    You still need to take Jejune days. Even more so, now. Take care of your dear self - we love you.

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  3. Oh dear! Not good - but thankful that it's diagnosed and being treated - hope it works as it should.

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  5. Oh dear, that's sucks bit time. I hope ur dotter have a speedy recovery with the treatment. I'm sending good vibes your way. *hugs*

    Sorry, the 'lim' post was from me. Didn't realized my DH was logged into gmail.

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  6. Wow. Well, I'm glad it was caught. I hope her body deals with the medication okay. About yearly at least one of the schools in the state has a TB scare--same situation, somebody has it, everybody gets tested. It's definitely still around. I've never worked at a summer camp without getting a TB test first. They're routine for anyone who will be around children.

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  7. TB is quite alive and well in Alaska. In fact, it has a higher rate of TB than any other state in the US. I have had a TB test (or two) every year. It sucks. I feel even worse for your daughter. I hope everything will be okay. Go trample the kid that went to school with TB.

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  8. We get tested every year at work because of the population we work with (homeless and serious mental illness. I am always surprised at the number of people who test positive and then will test positive forever after. We tend to think of TB as a disease like polio, almost extinct but it's not. I can't believe the school didn't take some precautions. And I'd like to slap the parents who let the kid go to school without a mask.

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  9. Dear Family,
    it seems to be a bit of one thing after another at the moment. Best wishes and sendng healing vibes to you both, with hugs, gem

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  10. The body makes a little calcium shell around the virus (I've been reading about TB now), like a hen's body making an eggshell! I hope hers stay nice and thick while she gets treated. You and yours have sure been through the white water ride as far as health, so I hope you get some smooth sailing now!

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  11. Just what you all needed! Hugs and take care.

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  12. Shit a brick - that poor girl can't win! Hopefully the drugs work without being too cruel to her body. I'm sending you really warm wishes.

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  13. Man, it would drive you to drink... Poor poppet.

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  14. Gosh. I hope you guys play the lottery because you're luck's gotta change soon!

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  15. Oh what a drag! Mycobacterium is a b@#$%h! Poor Dotter! We had a TB scare with one of my students at Uni. Fortunately we were all lucky! It is not at all uncommon for people to be walking around with TB without knowing it. Hope the first case and the other kids are all okay! Hope you can make it to dance class this week - I have a bundle for Dottor.

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  16. Oh, you poor people. You just can't seem to catch a break at the moment. Insulin, corticosteroids and heavy-duty antibiotics - Dotter must be feeling like a walking pharmacy. Even with her high risk status, I bet it doesn't go further. Remind her that one of the main ways the general population got better from tuberculosis in the 'olden days' before antibiotics was to improve their nutritional intake. Keep up the good foods and milk. Hugs, hugs, hugs to you all. In uni I had a great time studying all the olden methods of treating TB and I'm TB positive myself. Can only have xrays nowadays as I react overwhelmingly to the mantoux test! If you want a somewhat wryly humerous look at having TB, try getting a copy of Betty Macdonald's "The Plague and I".

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  17. Remember that guy who flew with TB and it was all over the news????

    Thank goodness they caught it and I am sorry to hear, though, that you all have to go through this - especially your lovely Dotter.

    Bugger the TB bug!

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  18. oh good lord! who ever heard of such a thing in this day and age?! im so sorry to hear about yet more illness for you and lovely dotter, best wishes to you both xx

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  19. Big hugs to you guys... it just doesn't seem fair! I'm sure it's a big help to her that you're able to remain so positive in your outlook. (something I'm sure most of us would not be able manage!)

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  20. So sorry to hear about Dotter's illness. After all she has been through. While it is good to know what to treat, it sucks.
    Hugs to both of you

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  21. about 16 years ago someone at quilting informed me that she had active TB just after she had coughed all over me ... she had contracted it from recent immigrants at the school she taught at.
    With a compromised auto immune system, I wasn't exactly thrilled but touch wood, still no problems.
    give Dotter my love and bestest best wishes

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  22. Wow! Jejune! I guess I am glad the student got screened and then the class was tested. Have known two children treated for it when they were around 8/9, having contracted it at school (on the West Coast of the US we do see a few cases, usually from people new to the US)and they were treated with antibiotics too and are now right as rain. And like many others who responded, I have to be re-tested periodically as I teach children who cough--they have given me many germs but thankfully not those. Best to you and dotter.

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  23. Oh bah humbug. Thank heaven for modern medicine though. Hope Dotter is feeling better soon. I remember we had a new student from Peru who was TB positive when I was in C class and we all had to be tested and then vaccinated. Sending happy, cheerful, positive thoughts!!! And waggy tails!!

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  24. Dear oh dear! My heart goes out to you and Dotter!! Thank heavens tests were done!!!
    We ve had some scares here with the large influx of African people being brought here for Mine work,many are not being tested!!

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  25. Oh, my goodness. I swear, hon, you are the strongest woman I could ever imagine. Well, after Dotter, actually.

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