06/13/2014 11:43 EDT | Updated 08/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Newfoundland notifying 200 people after man diagnosed with tuberculosis

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland's largest health authority is notifying about 200 people who may have had contact with a patient who has tuberculosis.

Dr. David Allison, the medical officer of health for Eastern Health, says the man contacted the people before he showed symptoms of the illness, such as coughing.

The man was diagnosed with tuberculosis in May at a facility in western Newfoundland where he began treatment, but before that he was a patient at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's.

Allison says the chances the illness will spread are minimal, but health officials are contacting people as a precaution.

He says most of the contact would have happened between February and the beginning of May.

Allison says it's not absolutely certain how many people contacted the man, but he says that about 100 patients and 100 staff were near him.

He says cases of tuberculosis occasionally arise, but it's unusual for a patient to have so many contacts with other patients and medical staff.