World TB Day: Information for Medical Practitioners on Early Detection of TB

24 March 2016 - Communicable Disease Control Branch

Tuberculosis (TB) is uncommon in Australia but should be readily diagnosable and treatable, although the emergence of drug resistance poses a threat. Migrants from high TB burden comprise 90% of cases in South Australia. A study conducted here between 2010 and 2014 showed greater than 50% of TB diagnoses exceeded 1 month from initial presentation and a key reason was failure to consider TB. This information is intended to provide guidance on the early detection of TB.

When to consider TB in the risk groups
> cough or persistent chest infection for more than 2 weeks ±
> other respiratory symptoms - dyspnoea, chest pain, haemoptysis and/or
> constitutional symptoms - loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, night sweats, fatigue

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Temporary cessation of BCG vaccination due to unavailability

11 March 2016 - Communicable Disease Control Branch

A TGA registered BCG vaccine has not been available for use in Australia since 31 December 2015. This relates to a global shortage over the past 3 years from manufacturing delays and at the same time increased demand. In 2015 WHO reported that 180 million doses were needed to meet UNICEF demands but only 107 million doses were made available from manufacturers. As such, at the global level BCG vaccine is being allocated on a priority basis to high TB burden countries.

Presently it is not certain when new stock of a TGA registered BCG vaccine product will be 
available in Australia.

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