The number of people who have tuberculosis continues to rise in two Nunavut communities that have outbreaks of the disease.
The Nunavut Department of Health declared an outbreak in Pond Inlet last March, and in Naujaat last May. The communities join Pangnirtung on the list of Nunavut communities grappling with outbreaks.
Ten people in Pond Inlet, a north Baffin community of about 1,550 people, have now been diagnosed with active tuberculosis since the outbreak began in March, the territorial health department said in a Friday news release. Ninety-eight have been diagnosed with latent TB.
Those numbers are up from five active cases and 22 latent cases in March.
In Naujaat, a community of about 1,000, 14 people have been diagnosed since January with active TB and 63 with latent TB.
Those numbers are up from six active and 10 latent cases that were recorded at the time the outbreak was declared.
The difference between active and latent TB is that active tuberculosis is contagious, and latent tuberculosis isn't — but needs to be treated, so that it doesn't become active.
The health department is asking anyone with symptoms to go to their health centre as soon as possible for screening. Symptoms include a lingering cough, tiredness, loss of appetite, fever or night sweats.
Tuberculosis has been a scourge in Nunavut for decades.
Hopes were high when the federal government announced in 2018 that it would eliminate TB in Inuit communities by 2030.
Two years later, rates of TB had barely changed and funding for the project had dried up.
The COVID-19 pandemic further delayed efforts to eliminate the disease.
In November, the Nunavut government signed an agreement with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to share information on tuberculosis numbers and notify Nunavut Tunngavik of outbreaks.