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The Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

Shingadia, Delane MPH, MRCP, FRCPCH

Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: March 2012 - Volume 31 - Issue 3 - p 302–305
doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e318249f26d
ESPID Reports and Reviews

Childhood tuberculosis accounts for a significant proportion of the global tuberculosis disease burden. However, tuberculosis in children is difficult to diagnose, because disease tends to be paucibacillary and sputum samples are often not easy to obtain. The diagnosis of tuberculosis in children is traditionally based on chest radiography, tuberculin skin testing, and mycobacterial staining/culture from appropriate samples. Newer diagnostic strategies have included improved bacteriologic and molecular methods, as well as new methods for sample collection from children. Recently, immune-based diagnostics, such as the interferon-gamma release assays, have been introduced for clinical use. These tests do not offer substantial improvements in sensitivity over tuberculin skin testing for the diagnosis of active disease but may be useful in excluding false-positive tuberculin skin tests. Further research is needed to develop better diagnostic tests for tuberculosis in children.

From the Department of Infectious Diseases, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Great Ormond Street, London, United Kingdom.

The author has no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Address for correspondence: Delane Shingadia, MPH, MRCP, FRCPCH, Department of Infectious Diseases, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3JH, United Kingdom. E-mail:

The ESPID Reports and Reviews of Pediatric Infectious Diseases series topics, authors and contents are chosen and approved independently by the Editorial Board of ESPID.


The Diagnosis of Tuberculosis


Co-Editors: Delane Shingadia and Irja Lutsar

Board Members

David Burgner (Melbourne, Australia) Luisa Galli (Rome, Italy) Christiana Nascimento-Carvalho (Bahia, Brazil) Ville Peltola (Turku, Finland) Nicol Ritz (Basel, Switzerland) Ira Shah (Mumbai, India) Matthew Snape (Oxford, UK) George Syrogiannopoulos (Larissa, Greece) Tobias Tenenbaum (Mannhein, Germany) Marc Terbruegge (Southampton, UK) Marceline van Furth (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Anne Vergison (Brussels, Belgium)

© 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.