Infection Control Today (01.14.2014)
Aids Weekly Plus
Infection Control Today reported on a Johns Hopkins study on TB infection in children. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Government Medical College in India investigated 223 Indian children ages five years or younger with suspected TB who had received treatment at a hospital in Pune, India. Results showed that 26 children (12 percent) had probable or definite TB infections. In approximately half of the children, TB had spread beyond the lungs. Of these 12 cases with disseminated TB, nine had TB meningitis, which is usually fatal. Four of the seven children whose diagnoses were confirmed by laboratory culture had drug-resistant TB; two of these four had multidrug-resistant TB.
Findings showed that the TB skin test, the most commonly used TB screening test, only identified five of the 26 children with TB, which suggests a high rate of false negatives. The researchers noted that this finding illustrates the deceptive nature of the TB bacterium and emphasizes the need for better screening and diagnostic tests. Also, approximately 90 percent of the children with TB had received TB vaccine, which suggests that the vaccine is unreliable.
Sanjay Jain, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, stated that findings indicated pediatric TB is different from adult TB and may require different prevention, diagnostic, containment, and treatment methods. The researchers noted that although the study was confined to a small group of Indian children, the findings should be meaningful to infectious disease specialists throughout the world.
The full report, “Pediatric Tuberculosis in Young Children in India: A Prospective Study,” was published in the journal BioMed Research International (2013; doi: 10.1155/2013/783698).