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Free Content Tuberculosis during infancy

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SETTING: A worldwide re-emergence of tuberculosis has been observed during the last decade. However, few studies of infants with tuberculosis appear in the literature.

OBJECTIVE: To describe tuberculosis during infancy.

DESIGN: The records of all infants diagnosed with tuberculosis at a tertiary care hospital from 1982 to 1998 were reviewed.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine infants with a median age of 10 months were identified, 59% of whom presented during the second half of the study period. Diagnoses included endothoracic tuberculosis (33 patients), meningitis (3), miliary tuberculosis (2) and cervical lymphadenitis (1). Reasons for medical evaluation were the onset of symptoms (25 patients), contact investigation (12) and tuberculin skin test screening (2). Common signs and symptoms included fever (22 patients), cough (7), appetite loss (4) and wheezing/rales (4). Chest X-ray revealed hilar adenopathy (22 patients), infiltrates (16), atelectases (3) and miliary pattern (2). Cultures were attempted in nine patients and were positive in seven. All patients responded promptly to treatment. No complications or deaths occurred.

CONCLUSION: Tuberculosis in infants has been diagnosed increasingly during the last decade. Endothoracic tuberculosis predominates. One third of the patients were diagnosed due to contact investigation. As early diagnosis and treatment appears to prevent complications and reduce mortality, pediatricians should be alert for tuberculosis in an infant with an atypical picture suggestive of infection.
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Keywords: M. tuberculosis; infants; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: University of Athens Second Department of Pediatrics, P. & A. Kyriakou Children's Hospital, Athens, Greece

Publication date: 01 May 2000

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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