GOATS AND SODA: Why does TB have such a hold on the Inuit communities of the Canadian Arctic? – by Melody Schreiber (National Public Radio – May 2, 2024)


The ancient and deadly disease of tuberculosis has an unlikely grip on the Canadian Arctic. In a country where the rate of TB is among the world’s lowest – 4.8 active cases per 100,000 people – the territory of Nunavut is an extraordinary outlier.

About 1 in 500 people had active TB in 2021 in Nunavut, which is home to about 40,000 people, most of them Inuit. The most recent wave of TB infections in Nunavut began in January 2021 in the community of Pangnirtung. Two years later, Pond Inlet began reporting cases. A few months after that, it had spread to Naujaat.

Since the outbreaks began, 82 people have been diagnosed with active TB, and 502 others have been diagnosed with latent TB – they’re infected but don’t have symptoms or spread it to others. That’s from reports issued by the government of Nunavut in mid-April. So far, five people have died.

This new outbreak comes in the aftermath of a 2018 vow by Canada to eliminate TB, a bacterial infection that is the second-deadliest infectious disease after COVID-19, among the Inuit by 2030.

For the rest of this article: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2024/05/02/1247521186/tb-tuberculosis-inuit-canada-arctic