[Adolescent tuberculosis; a challenge and opportunity to prevent community transmission]

An Pediatr (Barc). 2017 Mar;86(3):110-114. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2016.03.009. Epub 2016 Apr 11.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: Adolescents may present with adult-type pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), including cavity disease in upper lobes and smear-positive sputum, which involves a significant transmission risk for social and family contacts.

Patients and methods: A retrospective (2007-2012) observational study of a case series of TB was conducted in children and adolescents (<18 years) in a paediatric referral centre in Barcelona. Patients aged≤12 and>12 years at diagnosis are compared.

Results: The series consisted of 124 patients (56.5% males, median age: 4.0 years). In half of the cases, the patient was of immigrant origina and TB was diagnosed after clinical-radiological suspicion, intra-thoracic disease being the most common (91.9%). Cultures yielded positive results in one third of cases (37.9%) and isolates were sensitive to oral first-line anti-TB agents in 100%. Median (interquartile range) duration of treatment was 6 (6-9) months, directly observed therapy was needed in 10 patients, and there was a satisfactory outcome after treatment in 98.4%. Among adolescents, TB was more prevalent in females (63.2%) and immigrant patients (68.4%), comorbidity at diagnosis and lung cavity forms were more common, and the source case was identified only in 21.1% of the patients.

Conclusion: Adult-type pulmonary TB is common among adolescents, may be associated with underlying medical conditions, and is often diagnosed late, posing a significant transmission risk to the community.

Keywords: Adolescent; Adolescente; Adult-type disease; Contagio; Enfermedad tipo adulto; Paediatrics; Pediatría; Transmission; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Public Health
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spain
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis / transmission*