Law should target spitting to reduce disease source

While TB does not appear to be of great concern in Costa Rica (I did a bit of research, and CR is not among the countries suffering high TB rates), I’d very much like to see the CR health authorities start working on the habit of spitting.

During the 11 years I’ve been resident in this lovely little country, I’ve frequently had to suppress my gag reflex because men and boys seem to think nothing of hawking and spitting on the streets and sidewalks. Indeed, it often appear to be a means of expressing displeasure with someone or something or perhaps simply exercising the right to be masculine. (I have yet to see a woman do this, though it undoubtedly happens).

If even a few of these habitual spitters have TB, how many bacilli get stepped on and subsequently tracked into homes where they are distributed on floors where small children play, and babies crawl? If it’s not a problem now, it could easily become one.

If the government can prevent smoking in public due to the health-hazard it presents, surely it could at least begin educating the population to the dangers of public spitting the way it has regarding frequent hand-washing along with, covering coughs and sneezes to reduce the transmission of flu. “Bugs” is “bugs” folks. Be nice if everyone kept theirs to themselves.

Judy Griffith Gill
Puerto Viejo-Cahuita

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