Tuberculosis infections in Lamu have increased in the last few months, county TB coordinator Abdulkadir Zubeir said yesterday.
Zubeir said 161 new cases of TB were discovered in Lamu town alone in January this year.
He said an almost a similar number were recorded between February and June this year.
Zubeir said the number is twice what was recorded in previous years, where just about 80 new TB cases were documented annually among residents.
“Right now, we are talking of at least 600 new TB cases in one year. In the last five years, we only had like 80 cases in one year,” he said.
Zubeir said drinking dens are among areas that increase infection rate, probably because of the crowded nature of such places. He also cited misleading cultural beliefs as yet another cause of the spread of TB.
“Some people believe that a concoction of honey and ginger cures TB and so they never come to hospital for treatment. They end up infecting other people who come into contact with them,” Zubeir said.
He said his office has launched awareness campaigns and is encouraging residents to seek treatment if they have persistent coughs.
The official urged the county to increase the number of TB testing centres to reach as many people as possible. “We only have 13 TB testing centres in Lamu and the qualified staff for the job are inadequate,” the coordinator said.