Modern approach to the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in children

Pediatr Clin North Am. 1988 Jun;35(3):441-64. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(16)36465-3.


Tuberculosis in children remains an important infectious disease in the United States, with 1261 cases reported in 1985. The percentage of extrapulmonary manifestations is increasing. Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in children have lagged behind those in adults owing to diminished familiarity with the disease and difficulty in performing clinical studies in children. Tuberculosis in the United States now occurs mainly in clusters of high-risk people, such as the foreign born, Hispanics, blacks, Native Americans, and the impoverished. In general, the diagnosis of tuberculosis is epidemiologic, supported by the chest roentgenogram, skin test, and, most important, contact tracing. As the rate of drug-resistant tuberculosis increases, greater effort should be made to obtain cultures. New advances, such as DNA probes and serodiagnosis, may improve diagnostic accuracy, especially for extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Noncompliance is the major problem in treating tuberculosis, and greater effort should be directed toward novel treatment approaches in children, such as twice-weekly supervised therapy and shorter, more intense durations of therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary* / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary* / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary* / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary* / prevention & control
  • United States