Five people have tested positive for tuberculosis in preliminary screenings after contact with a woman who died in far north Queensland from the disease.
Five people who had contact with a woman who died of an unusual strain of tuberculosis in far north Queensland have tested positive to a dormant version during screenings for the disease.
Queensland Health on Tuesday confirmed the 32-year-old Cairns woman died from a multi-drug resistant strain of TB after being admitted to Cairns Hospital in September.
Thirty people believed to have been in contact with the woman, who travelled regularly to the Torres Strait and Papua New Guinea, have already been tested by the Cairns TB Control Unit.
Of those, five have returned a positive Mantoux test result.
However health officials have been quick to point out this does not necessarily mean they are a risk to others.
“A positive Mantoux test simply indicates that a person may have been infected with TB at some point in their life,” said Dr Richard Gair from the Tropical Public Health Unit in Cairns.
“It does not indicate that the infection was acquired from a particular person.
Dr Gair said patients with an inactive form of TB, called latent TB, were not infectious.
“It is not possible to get TB from someone with latent tuberculosis,” he said.
“The main risk of latent TB is that some patients may go on to develop active TB at a later stage in their lives.”
Twenty more people who have come in contact with the woman, who had been in close contact with another patient who died of TB last year, are still yet to be tested.