SETTINGp: Among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected adults living in tuberculosis (TB) endemic settings, Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a common cause of bloodstream infections. Although young children have an increased propensity for M. tuberculosis dissemination, M. tuberculosis bacteremia is infrequently described in children.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of M. tuberculosis bacteremia in adult and pediatric patients and to examine sources of heterogeneity between estimates.
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Results: Of 1077 reviewed abstracts, 27 publications met the inclusion criteria, yielding 29 independent M. tuberculosis bacteremia prevalence estimates: 22 in adults, 6 in children, and 1 not stratified by age group. The random effects pooled M. tuberculosis bacteremia prevalence in adults was 13.5% (95%CI 10.8-16.2) and 0.4% (95%CI 0-0.9) in children (P for difference = 0.004). Restricting analyses to HIV-infected participants, pooled M. tuberculosis bacteremia prevalence from 21 adult studies was 15.5% (95%CI 12.5-18.5) and 0.8% (95%CI 0-1.8) in three pediatric studies (P = 0.001). Inclusion of pre-determined study-level confounders did not account for observed differences in M. tuberculosis bacteremia prevalence between age groups.
Conclusion: While M. tuberculosis bacteremia appears relatively common in adults, particularly those with HIV infection, bloodstream M. tuberculosis appears to be rare in children.