Tuberculosis in children younger than five years old: New York City

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1995 Feb;14(2):112-7. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199502000-00006.


We examined medical and health department records for children < 5 years of age with suspected or confirmed tuberculosis reported to the New York City Health Department from January, 1992, through June, 1992, in order to describe the epidemiology of tuberculosis in young children and identify prevention strategies. Forty-seven children were treated for suspected or confirmed tuberculosis. Sixty-two percent (21 of 34) were foreign-born (n = 11) or had foreign-born caretakers (n = 10). A source case was found for 10 of 47 (21%) children; for 8 the adult source was diagnosed before the child. One child was human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive, however, 83% of children and 70% of adult source cases did not have human immunodeficiency virus test results available. Health care providers should test children at high risk for tuberculosis infection as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and improve contact tracing to identify children exposed to adults with tuberculosis. Because most cases of tuberculosis in children are diagnosed clinically rather than by isolating Mycobacterium tuberculosis, identification of the source case is important for selecting appropriate treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Contact Tracing*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*