Epidemiology of paediatric tuberculosis today

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Tuberculosis (TB) kills 2 million people each year in the world, of which 250,000 are children. In Italy, paediatric TB is 3.5% of total cases with a steady trend in the last ten years. Childhood tuberculosis remains a disease of great concern because its occurrence always indicates recent transmission and is a pivotal indicator of effectiveness of TB control efforts. The epidemiological study, including DNA fingerprinting, of 71 children affected by TB - 62 pulmonary, 9 meningitis, 2 renal-shows that the source case is frequently a parent or household member. Sensitivity to anti-tubercular drugs was tested for 18/20 isolates obtained from the children and 21/44 isolates obtained from infection sources with 5 resistant strains in each group. One child was resistant to isoniazid, and one adult source to rifampin. Multi-drug resistance was observed in 8 cases: 4 children and 4 sources. In the children's case, we may use the term primary resistance as the patients have not been previously treated with the drugs. These children's treatment lasted longer, not only because their regimen had been changed, but also because of their delayed clinical-radiological response to the treatment. These data suggest that it would be opportune to re-evaluate current treatment of childhood tuberculosis, encouraging active and integrated cooperation between epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and paediatricians.
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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