Evaluation of young children in household contact with adult multidrug- resistant pulmonary tuberculosis cases

Schaaf H.S. ; Vermeulen H.A.S. ; Gie R.P. ; Beyers N. ; Donald P.R. (1999)


Background. The prevention and management of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis has received much attention, but little attention has been given to children with MDR tuberculosis or children in contact with adults with MDR tuberculosis. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of tuberculous infection and disease in childhood contacts of adults with MDR pulmonary tuberculosis. Method. All children <5 years of age in household contact with 75 recently diagnosed adults with MDR pulmonary tuberculosis were evaluated. Evaluation included clinical examination, tuberculin skin test, chest radiography and culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis from gastric aspirates. Results. One hundred twenty-eight children, median age 27 months, were evaluated. Fifty children had recent contact with other adult tuberculosis cases. Sixty-six children previously had chemoprophylaxis or treatment of whom 36 defaulted treatment or received insufficient chemoprophylaxis. One child had HIV infection. Forty-seven children were classified as noninfected, 66 were considered infected only (Mantoux test, ≥15 mm) and 15 had disease. Three children, who had not previously received antituberculosis drugs, had positive cultures for M. tuberculosis; all were multidrug-resistant. Conclusion. This study documents the transmission of multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis to childhood contacts, the development of disease in these contacts and the importance of knowing the index case's M. tuberculosis susceptibility pattern in choosing a proper treatment regimen for the childhood contact.

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