Tuberculosis in Children

1.1 million children worldwide become ill with tuberculosis yearly, predominantly in low in middle income countries.

Childhood tuberculosis is identified in the context of acute lower respiratory tract infection or pneumonia.

The most common symptoms of active TB in younger children include:


Weight loss

Poor growth




The most common symptoms of active TB in older children include:

Cough that lasts longer than 3 weeks

Pain in the chest

Blood in sputum




Weight loss

Decrease in appetite


Sweating at night


Difficulties in treating childhood tuberculosis: lack of microbiological confirmation, a long duration of treatment, lack of easy access to palatable pediatric formulations, pill burden, and medication side effects.

In a trial comparing eight weeks of standard treatment with isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide as a fixed dose formulation with or without ethambutal, all followed by either eight weeks or 16 weeks of isoniazid and rifampin in a fixed dose  combination.

For latent TB, several medicine options are available. 

Children over 2 years old can be treated with once-weekly medicine for 12 weeks or several months of daily medicine.

For active TB, a child will be given 2 to 4 medicines for 6 months or more.  

Active TB can be prevented by having latent TB diagnosed and treated.

TB is diagnosed with a TB skin or blood test, chest X-ray, sputum tests, and possibly other testing or biopsies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *