Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Over the last decades, TB has also emerged in the pediatric population. Epidemiologic data of childhood TB are still limited and there is an urgent need of more data on very large cohorts. A multicenter study was conducted in 27 pediatric hospitals, pediatric wards, and public health centers in Italy using a standardized form, covering the period of time between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012. Children with active TB, latent TB, and those recently exposed to TB or recently adopted/immigrated from a high TB incidence country were enrolled. Overall, 4234 children were included; 554 (13.1%) children had active TB, 594 (14.0%) latent TB and 3086 (72.9%) were uninfected. Among children with active TB, 481 (86.8%) patients had pulmonary TB. The treatment of active TB cases was known for 96.4% (n = 534) of the cases. Overall, 210 (39.3%) out of these 534 children were treated with three and 216 (40.4%) with four first-line drugs. Second-line drugs where used in 87 (16.3%) children with active TB. Drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis were reported in 39 (7%) children. Improving the surveillance of childhood TB is important for public health care workers and pediatricians. A non-negligible proportion of children had drug-resistant TB and was treated with second-line drugs, most of which are off-label in the pediatric age. Future efforts should concentrate on improving active surveillance, diagnostic tools, and the availability of antitubercular pediatric formulations, also in low-endemic countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry