Queensland’s health minister has ordered a review into the tracking and treatment of tuberculosis patients following the recent death of a woman.
Queensland’s health minister has ordered a review of the tracking and treatment of tuberculosis patients following the death of a Torres Strait Islander woman last month.
The 32-year-old woman died from a multi-drug resistant strain of TB after being admitted to Cairns Hospital in September.
Minister Lawrence Springborg has ordered the review after it became apparent the woman’s condition should have been closely monitored.
The woman was the daughter of another woman who died of TB in April last year.
After being tested for TB in August 2013, the woman failed to turn up for follow-up referrals in Townsville and wasn’t seen again by Queensland Health until September 23, just six days before her death.
Already five people who had contact with the woman have tested positive to a dormant version of the disease.
Twenty more people who have come in contact with the woman were yet to be tested.
A spokesman for Mr Springborg said the review was needed to establish whether tracking and treatment needed to be handled more on the ground in the Torres Strait than from Cairns.
He said a recent visit by the minister to Saibai Island in the Torres Strait had involved discussions with local community leaders who reported concerns over how the situation was being handled.
“Cairns and the Cairns district has always had responsibility for TB in that area,” the spokesman told AAP.
“We’ve uncovered some areas of concern that things were not necessarily in line with what was being reported. Steps are being taken to rectify that.”
The review will be a part of the infectious diseases protocol review – ordered after last week’s Cairns Hospital Ebola scare.
The spokesman said another area of concern was Papua New Guinea residents crossing the border to receive treatment but leaving before completing a course of antibiotics.
He said the health service would no longer be treating Papua New Guinea patients in clinics and they would be sent back for treatment.
“We have had multi-drug resistant TB as a concern up there for some time,” he said.
“Our view is it needs to be more locally managed.”