NSW Health has dismissed fears of an outbreak of the bacterial infection tuberculosis after a Sydney doctor misdiagnosed a man who went on to infect 10 others.
The patient, 23, went to his GP over three months but it wasn’t until his third visit that the doctor referred him for an x-ray that revealed a hole in his lung, The Daily Telegraph reported.
During that period he reportedly passed on the disease, which mainly affects the lungs, after coming into contact with 10 people.
But NSW Health’s Director of Communicable Diseases Vicky Sheppeard said this didn’t mean there was an outbreak of tuberculosis in Sydney.
“Public announcements about people with TB disease are rarely necessary as TB is spread via close and prolonged contact, not spread by brief, casual exposures,” Ms Sheppeard told AAP in a statement on Monday.
“As TB remains a relatively rare disease in Australia it is not unusual that it is not recognised on the initial presentation to a doctor.”
NSW has one of the lowest rates of the disease in the world.
Across the country about 1300 new cases are reported every year. In NSW in 2016, there were 533.
NSW Labor has called on the Berejiklian government to consider whether GPs needed to brush up on their knowledge of TB.
Doctors they should be able to identify symptoms in order to protect the community, opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said.
TB is a nationally notifiable disease and can be a very serious if not diagnosed early and treated.
All of the 11 persons affected in this latest case are now being treated.