Childhood tuberculosis: An emerging and previously neglected problem
Although awareness is growing, childhood tuberculosis (TB) remains a neglected disease in many resource-limited settings. In part this reflects operational difficulties, lack of visibility in official reports, as well as perceptions that children tend to develop mild disease, contribute little to disease transmission, and do not affect epidemic control. At an international level there is greater appreciation that children contribute significantly to the global TB disease burden and suffer severe TB-related morbidity and mortality, particularly in TB-endemic areas, where the disease often remains undiagnosed. However, this is not always the case at the national or local level and there remains an urgent need for feasible and implementable policies to guide clinical practice. Pediatric TB can be regarded as an emerging epidemic in areas where the adult epidemic remains out of control and Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission is ongoing. This article reviews important concepts, challenges, and management principles related to childhood TB; it also summarizes the main priorities for future research. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.