Analysis of 170 cases of congenital TB reported in the literature between 1946 and 2009

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2011 Dec;46(12):1215-24. doi: 10.1002/ppul.21490. Epub 2011 May 27.


Introduction: Congenital tuberculosis is a rare disease. The mortality is very high. Through a review of our own cases and the world literature, we describe clinical manifestations, treatment, and prognosis of this disease.

Methods: A total of 170 subjects with congenital tuberculosis that 6 cases identified by the authors and 164 cases identified in other case series were included in this study. All patients were diagnosed according to Cantwell's criteria. The data were analyzed using SPSS, version 17.0 spss.

Results: There were 70 premature babies among the 170 infants with congenital tuberculosis. The average onset age was 20 days. The mothers of 162 patients were diagnosed as having active tuberculosis during pregnancy or after parturition. Nonspecific signs and symptoms were found in these 170 cases, such as fever, respiratory distress, and hepatosplenomegaly, etc. Abnormal chest radiographs were found in 133 infants, of whom 83 cases showed miliary tuberculosis and multiple pulmonary nodules. Sixty-eight infants died from among the 169 cases. The mortality dropped to 21.7% after treatment with anti-tuberculosis medication. The blood leukocyte count (P < 0.001), anti-tuberculosis treatment (P < 0.001), age of onset (P = 0.004), and presence of intracranial lesions (P < 0.001) affected the prognosis of congenital tuberculosis.

Conclusions: The majority of infants with congenital tuberculosis onset within 2-3 weeks after delivery had no specific manifestations. Anti-tuberculosis medication could reduce the mortality. The age of onset, presence of intracranial lesions, anti-tuberculosis treatment, specific image performances and leukocyte count were related to the prognosis of congenital tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tuberculosis, Miliary / congenital*
  • Tuberculosis, Miliary / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Miliary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Miliary / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / congenital*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology


  • Antitubercular Agents