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New concepts in childhood tuberculosis

Starke, Jeffrey R

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: June 2007 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 306–313
doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32814b164a

Purpose of review Childhood tuberculosis has long been neglected in international tuberculosis control efforts. There are, however, many opportunities to prevent childhood tuberculosis that are not being fully employed.

Recent findings Several papers have been published to emphasize the unique nature of childhood tuberculosis and improve tuberculosis control in children. Treatment regimens have been improved and refined. Clinical and radiographic methods have been standardized. While new diagnostic tests are greatly needed, it is also apparent that any new tests – such as the interferon release assays – will need to be studied specifically in infants and children or there is a risk they may be misapplied. The areas of greatest need for research and clinical utility remain better diagnostic tests for tuberculosis infection and disease; shorter and more effective regimens for treating tuberculosis infection; better integration of children into standard tuberculosis control practices; a better understanding of the interaction of human immunodeficiency virus infection and tuberculosis in children; detection and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis in children; and a more effective vaccine.

Summary True progress will require a rethinking of basic tuberculosis control with a commitment to address problems specific to childhood tuberculosis.

Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence to Jeffrey R. Starke, MD, Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, MC 3-2371, 1102 Bates Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA Tel: +1 713 873 3504; fax: +1 713 873 3505; e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.