A confirmed case of tuberculosis has prompted Island Health to alert two Victoria hostels of possible exposure to the illness after an infected individual briefly stayed at both in early March.
All guests and staff members of the two hostels that may have been exposed to the illness have been contacted by Island Health, and the health authority has offered tuberculosis screenings to these individuals.
The health authority does not believe there is an added risk to the public and that the risk of contracting the lung infection is low.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria spreading through the air and usually affects the lungs. It can, however, impact other parts of the body including glands, bones, joints, kidneys, the brain, and reproductive organs.
Symptoms include a cough for 2 weeks or longer, coughing up blood (hemoptysis), chest pain, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may also include unexplained weight loss, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, and tiredness or fatigue.
Island Health notes that contracting the illness usually requires close personal contact with a sick individual over long periods of time.
Tuberculosis is a serious illness but uncommon on Vancouver Island. In 2017, there was a total of 13 cases in the region.