Kenyan medics raise alarm over increase in pneumonia, TB cases

HM pneumonia

Doctors have raised the alarm over the rising cases of pneumonia and tuberculosis, particularly in children and young adults, raising fears of a potential wave of Covid-19 infections.

Vincent Nyangweso, a general practitioner in Kasarani, reports that he has been seeing around seven patients a day who present with fever, cough and sore throat, and are diagnosed with either TB or pneumonia later on.

According to Dr Nyangweso, the trend has been the same for the past two months and he attributes it to the changing weather patterns in the country that are also increasing the presence of pathogens causing the diseases.

“The current weather patterns are playing a significant role in the increase in respiratory illnesses, as pathogens are also on the loose, accelerating the onset of symptoms. Many patients, who are between three months to 23 years present with coughing up blood and excessive sweating, as well as difficulty breathing and chest pain. Laboratory tests almost always confirm pneumonia or tuberculosis," said Dr Nyangweso.

Celestine Mutemi of Medical Hospital in Nairobi has also reported several admissions of children with pneumonia with low oxygen flow.

“Seasonal increases in respiratory infections are expected. We are currently having as young as six months old baby on oxygen. The levels continue fluctuating. He was diagnosed with pneumonia two weeks ago," said Dr Mutemi.

The Ministry of Health has, however, said it is yet to get an alert over the trend, adding that they are closely monitoring the country.

“As a department, we have not received any trend from the disease monitoring surveillance team but we will keep in touch and provide updates," said Sultani Matendechero, deputy director-general for health at the Department of Public Health and Professional Standards.

The waves have sparked fears among the public of a potential new variant of the Covid-19 virus, which the ministry has denied, saying positive cases are generally declining with a fluctuating prevalence.

However, Dr Matendechero has asked the public to get as many boosters as possible for their health, as Covid-19 is still being transmitted.

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