CBC.ca (Canada) (01.16.13)
The Department of Health in New Brunswick, Canada, has recently asked local childcare operators to temporarily suspend the tuberculosis (TB) test requirement for new employees due to a test supply shortage. Normally, new workers must be tested for TB within a month of starting a job at a childcare facility. The New Brunswick government now needs to ration its supply because of the test shortage.
Dr. Denis Allard, New Brunswick deputy chief medical officer of health, stated that the problem began with the test’s manufacturer, who notified the province a few months ago that tests could be in possible short supply through May 2013. Thus, the health department will set aside tests, prioritizing them for follow-up on potential TB outbreaks and for hospital patients.
Janet Towers, vice president of child and family development at the Saint John YMCA, stated that the request to suspend TB testing for new childcare employees is not a problem now, but could possibly become one when hiring begins in a few months for summer daycare programs. She emphasized that staff are required to have a medical exam that includes a TB test before they can begin working. The Department of Health says that in the past five years, New Brunswick has had approximately five to 10 TB cases per year.