Children exposed to multidrug-resistant (MDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis are at risk of developing MDR tuberculosis. Where treatment is available, it is lengthy, expensive, and associated with poor adherence and notable morbidity and mortality. Preventive treatment effectively lowers the risk of disease progression for contacts of individuals with drug-susceptible tuberculosis, but this strategy is poorly studied for contacts of people with MDR tuberculosis. In this Review we discuss the management of child contacts of source cases with MDR tuberculosis. We pay particular attention to assessment, existing international guidelines, possible preventive treatments, rationales for different management strategies, and the interaction with and implications of HIV infection.
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