Paediatric tuberculosis

Lancet Infect Dis. 2008 Aug;8(8):498-510. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(08)70182-8.


Tuberculosis continues to cause an unacceptably high toll of disease and death among children worldwide, particularly in the wake of the HIV epidemic. Increased international travel and immigration have led to a rise in childhood tuberculosis rates even in traditionally low burden, industrialised settings, and threaten to promote the emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant strains. Whereas intense scientific and clinical research efforts into novel diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive interventions have focused on tuberculosis in adults, childhood tuberculosis has been relatively neglected. However, children are particularly vulnerable to severe disease and death following infection, and those with latent infection become the reservoir for future transmission following disease reactivation in adulthood, fuelling future epidemics. Further research into the epidemiology, immune mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of childhood tuberculosis is urgently needed. Advances in our understanding of tuberculosis in children would provide insights and opportunities to enhance efforts to control this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis* / drug effects
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Tuberculosis* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis* / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis* / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis* / physiopathology
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / physiopathology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / physiopathology


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines