9 Dec 2011

Queensland guarantees TB services near PNG border until alternative in place

2:02 pm on 9 December 2011

Queensland's health service says its tuberculosis clinics on the Torres Strait islands of Saibai and Boigu will remain open until alternative facilities are in place.

The Australian and PNG governments are working together to ensure PNG nationals can be treated for TB on the PNG side of the border, instead of crossing into Queensland.

This comes amid concern that increasing numbers of TB sufferers in PNG have a multi drug resistant strain.

Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, says Queensland will continue providing TB services in the interim.

Two Australians living on the Torres Strait islands were diagnosed with infectious TB as a result of cross-border movement in 2009.

Dr Young says the incidence of multi-drug resistant TB in PNG Western Province of is not known but of the PNG residents with TB who have accessed care at the Torres Strait clinics, about a quarter have had the resistant type.