NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis in children

Philip Britton, Carlos M. Perez-Velez, Ben J. Marais

NSW Public Health Bulletin 24(1) 15-21 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/NB12100 Published: 15 July 2013

  • Citation

  • PDF

About the author/s

Philip Britton | The Children’s Hospital at Westmead,

Carlos M. Perez-Velez | Grupo Tuberculosis Valle-Colorado and Clínica León XIII, IPS Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, Sydney Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity Institute, The University of Sydney

Ben J. Marais | The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity Institute, The University of Sydney

Corresponding author

Ben J. Marais | ben.marais@health.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

In Australia, tuberculosis notification rates have plateaued at a low level and disease is highly concentrated in immigrant communities where children may be affected. Many clinicians regard tuberculosis as an adult disease, hence it is rarely considered in the differential diagnosis of sick children. This paper provides a brief overview of the natural history of the disease in children to demonstrate the importance of taking a careful tuberculosis exposure history. It also provides guidance regarding the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tuberculosis in children. The management of paediatric cases is not difficult if important differences with adult disease are carefully considered; these differences are discussed in detail.