Kenya to adopt new testing kit for tuberculosis

Kenya will adopt a new testing kit for tuberculosis (TB) after a national survey showed that symptoms alone are not enough to detect the disease.

Last week, the World Health Organization announced the adoption of the new GeneXpert kit, developed by an American company, and which has been in the pipeline for several years.

On Tuesday, Dr Enos Masini, head of TB Department in the Ministry of Health, said the new technology will capture all the “missing cases of TB that had not been detected”.

“The current testing kit had a limitation since it has a sensitivity of 78 per cent,” said Dr Masini, adding that “this means that in 20 per cent of people who had low concentration of TB germs in sputum, there was a likelihood of missing the disease unless other methods of diagnosis like X-ray were used.”

The new kit, Dr Masini said, can detect TB germs in sputum samples with concentrations as low as 16, as compared to the 130 in the current tool.

The technology will come in handy, especially for children, whose diagnosis has been difficult because of their inability to produce sputum.

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