[Hpn] Fwd: TORONTO: TDRC Media advisory - tuberculosis at Seaton House men's shelter

Graeme Bacque gbacque@netzero.net
Mon, 26 Nov 2001 22:31:47 -0500

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------------forwarded message------------
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 21:18:06 -0500
To: (Undisclosed Recipient List)
From: dweitz@interlog.com (Don Weitz)
Subject: Fw: TB emergency

Media Advisory
For immediate release!
November 26, 2001

Tuberculosis epidemic a natural outcome of homelessness.
One man is dead.

A shocking report tabled by the Medical Officer of Health at
the Board of Health today titled: Response to a Tuberculosis
Outbreak details a large TB outbreak at Seaton House, the
largest men's hostel in Canada. Up to 9 linked cases of TB
have been found at Seaton House since Spring 2001.  All were
Canadian born.  One man is reported to have died and TB was
likely a contributing factor. This information sends
shockwaves through the homeless community, social workers
and street nurses.  Homeless people and workers, long
concerned about TB (such as the Tuberculosis Action Group),
were not informed of the extent of the outbreak.  The
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC)  has warned of the
relationship between homelessness and TB since its
inception. We and the rest of the community should have been
alerted to the seriousness of this situation!

TDRC supports the Department's call for additional staffing
to help them respond to this crisis. Unfortunately though,
this approach is woefully inadequate to prevent the long
term spread of TB in the homeless population.

TDRC has called for a national housing strategy. We have
also called for a sophisticated short term strategy which
includes: reducing the crowding in shelters, creating
smaller and more comfortable shelters for people with
HIV/AIDs and other immune deficiencies (one man in the
Seaton House TB cluster also had HIV - HIV makes a person
more vulnerable to contracting TB).
Unfortunately, the report leaves us with more questions than
it answers. How much TB is in the rest of the shelter
system? In the Out of the Cold church basements? And most of
the shelter system which doesn't meet the UN standard for
refugee camps?  Why has the Department of Public Health not
included the need for affordable housing in their report?
These are discussions which should not only go on in Toronto
be included in the Housing Ministers talks in Quebec City
later this week when they debate the need to create a
national housing strategy.

For more information, contact:
Cathy Crowe, RN - 416-599-8372
Beric German, Housing and AIDs worker @ 416-833-6564
Join us for National Housing Strategy Day!!!
November 22, 2001
Homeless Memorial and Community Meal, 12-2pm at Church of
the Holy Trinity
Proclamation of the Day 2-3pm, Nathan Phillips Squre, City
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC)
Phone: 416-599-8372 * Fax: 416-599-5445
Email: tdrc@web.net
Website: www.tdrc.net

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