5 Feb 2010

Moves to forcibly quarantine TB patients in Marshall Islands

4:09 pm on 5 February 2010

The threat of drug resistant tuberculosis in the Marshall Islands has prompted parliament's health committee to consider allowing officials to quarantine patients who don't comply with prevention requirements.

The country's TB-Leprosy Director, Dr Kennar Briand says three patients have died from the disease, three are still receiving treatment, there is one suspected case, and two unconfirmed historical cases.

He says they are also trying to interview several-hundred people who may have been in contact with TB patients.

Dr Briand says a few people who could contract drug resistant TB have refused to take their medication for a variety of reasons

"Same reasons why people in the Pacific don't want to take drugs. They believe its magic, they believe they can use local medicines, same reasons, some people don't want to bother taking it."

Dr Briand says they have sufficient resources to deal with the outbreak.