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Free Content Epidemiological trends of childhood tuberculosis in Taiwan, 1998–2005

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SETTING: Understanding tuberculosis (TB) epidemiology among children is critical to overall TB control.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the trends and epidemiological and clinical characteristics of TB in children aged 0–14 years in Taipei City, Taiwan.

DESIGN: Data on all childhood TB cases in Taipei City from 1998 to 2005 were obtained from the National Tuberculosis Registry Database.

RESULTS: TB incidence rates increased significantly in both adults and children aged 0–14 years during the study period. The age-specific rate in children was highest in 10–14-year-olds and lowest in the 5–9 years age group. Of the 163 childhood TB cases, 52 cases (31.9%) were extra-pulmonary, with the highest proportional rate, of 39.6%, in the 0– 4 years age group. The most common site of extra-pulmonary involvement was the lymph nodes, followed by the bones and joints and the pleura. Bone and joint involvement occurred significantly more often in children aged 0– 4 years, while pleural disease was significantly more frequent in children aged 10–14 years. Only two cases of TB meningitis were identified.

CONCLUSIONS: The increase in childhood TB may be associated with the increase in the incidence of the disease in adults. Identifying and treating infectious sources, usually adults, can reduce the risk of TB exposure in children.
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Keywords: childhood tuberculosis; children; epidemiology; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, Branch for Disease Control and Prevention, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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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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