Marie Varughese

Modeling the Dynamics of Latent Tuberculosis in Canada

 Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterial agent that is responsible for Tuberculosis (TB). Tuberculosis is a treatable infection; however, it is highly infectious since it can be transmitted through the air. There are two forms of TB (latent and active). People who are infected with latent TB do not exhibit the symptoms and are not infectious. However, a conversion to the active form can potentially occur in 10% of people who have latent TB. Some known methods that can detect latent TB are a blood test or a skin test (Tuberculin Skin Test). Current research interests include describing the dynamics of latent TB in Canada by considering those who have been described by Health Canada statistics to have a higher proportion of active TB cases; these in particular include foreign-born and Aboriginal peoples. According to Health Canada statistics, the rate of active TB among foreign-born people have accounted for 69% of the total reported cases in 2004. Also, the rate of TB in First Nations (FN) communities is 8 to 10 times higher than the overall Canadian population and 20 to 30 times higher than Canadian-born non-Aboriginal peoples. The understanding of these dynamics may play a role in determining culturally sensitive strategies that can potentially help reduce the incidence of latent TB cases (that can potentially become active cases) in Canada.