Pediatric tuberculosis : clinical and epidemiological reflections from a highly endemic setting
Pediatric TB provides unique opportunities to study TB disease epidemiology. Improved diagnostics are of key importance in order to address many of the challenges posed by TB in children. In the Western Cape Province in South Africa, the TB notification rate was more than 600 out of 100,000 for children aged 0-14 years in 2007; the maternal HIV prevalence was 15%, with a good vertical preventative program. The HIV transmission rate was 4-5%; 99% of neonates routinely receive BCG vaccination at birth. Isoniazid prophylaxis, shown to be effective in the prevention of TB in young children, is seldom initiated and many missed opportunities for preventive therapy exist. In children admitted to hospital, mycobacterial culture is routinely done for TB in children less than five years of age through gastric aspiration of stomach contents in this setting; the culture yield is 30-40% in children with clinically suspected TB.