Objective: To determine the frequency of active tuberculosis during pregnancy in two hospitals located in an area where tuberculosis is epidemic and to describe its course and association with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Methods: We reviewed and analyzed the medical records of 16 pregnant women diagnosed with tuberculosis between 1985-1992 at Kings County Hospital (n = 12) and Saint Vincent's Hospital (n = 4) in New York City.
Results: Ten of the 16 pregnant women with proven active tuberculosis had pulmonary tuberculosis, two had tuberculous meningitis, and one each had mediastinal, renal, gastrointestinal, and pleural tuberculosis. Eleven were tested for HIV, and seven were seropositive. One HIV-infected patient with pulmonary tuberculosis died of respiratory failure. In the 6 years between 1985-1990, five cases of active tuberculosis during pregnancy were identified (12.4 per 100,000 deliveries). During the 2 years of 1991-1992, 11 cases were recorded (94.8 per 100,000 deliveries).
Conclusion: Cases of active tuberculosis are increasing among pregnant women in epidemic communities and are associated with HIV infection. Early tuberculin skin test screening with appropriate preventive therapy should reduce morbidity due to tuberculosis in HIV-infected women of reproductive age. Identification of pregnant women with tuberculosis requires a high index of suspicion.