Torres Strait Island Mayor Fred Gela says he had no choice but to close off the Australian border to Papua New Guinea (PNG) for fear an outbreak of tuberculosis (TB).

For the past two months, councillors have been refusing to authorise permits for PNG residents from the 13 treaty villages, after a Torres Strait community elder died of the disease in April.

Councillor Gela says Queensland Health is underestimating the problem.

"It's a real issue that ... all departments responsible, even governments, we need to stop and start thinking about it," he said.

"At the end of the day you could have a widespread issue that'll wipe out all of far north Queensland ... it could spread right through Australia."

He says he is worried about more deaths.

"As far as I'm concerned the multi-drug TB, and even if not super-strain, is at an epidemic proportion ... stuff what Queensland Health says, stuff what AusAID says," he said.

"At the end of the day these individuals ... are not living in our community."

 

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