New concepts in childhood tuberculosis

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2007 Jun;19(3):306-13. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32814b164a.


Purpose of review: Childhood tuberculosis has long been neglected in international tuberculosis control efforts. There are, however, many opportunities to prevent childhood tuberculosis that are not being fully employed.

Recent findings: Several papers have been published to emphasize the unique nature of childhood tuberculosis and improve tuberculosis control in children. Treatment regimens have been improved and refined. Clinical and radiographic methods have been standardized. While new diagnostic tests are greatly needed, it is also apparent that any new tests--such as the interferon release assays--will need to be studied specifically in infants and children or there is a risk they may be misapplied. The areas of greatest need for research and clinical utility remain better diagnostic tests for tuberculosis infection and disease; shorter and more effective regimens for treating tuberculosis infection; better integration of children into standard tuberculosis control practices; a better understanding of the interaction of human immunodeficiency virus infection and tuberculosis in children; detection and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis in children; and a more effective vaccine.

Summary: True progress will require a rethinking of basic tuberculosis control with a commitment to address problems specific to childhood tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / therapy
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Syndrome
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis / therapy*