Mani Kant Kumar, Prashant Kumar, Anjali Singh
Department of Pediatrics, Narayan Medical College and Hospital, Jamuhar, Sasaram, Bihar, India.
Despite over 2.3 million (26% of global burden) cases of tuberculosis (TB) in India the accurate diagnosis of childhood TB remains a major challenge. Children with TB usually have paucibacillary disease and contribute little to disease transmission within the community. Consequently the treatment of children with TB is often not considered a priority by TB control programmes. Adequate and timely assessment of TB infection in childhood could diminish epidemiological burden as underdiagnosed pediatric patients can eventually evolve in to an active state and have the potential to disseminate the etiological agent Mycobacterium tuberculosis, notably increasing this worldwide public health problem. In this review we discuss the most important recent advances in the diagnosis of childhood TB: (1) Symptom-based approaches, (2) novel immune-based approaches, including in vitro interferon-γ IGRA release assays IGRA tests; and (3) bacteriological and molecular methods that are more rapid and/or less expensive than conventional culture techniques for TB diagnosis and/or drug-resistance testing. Recent advances have improved our ability to diagnose latent infection and active TB in children, nevertheless establishing a diagnosis of either latent infection or active disease in HIV-infected children remains a major challenge.
Keywords: Childhood tuberculosis, diagnosis, recent advances, treatment.