Background. India has one of the highest tuberculosis (TB) burdens globally. However, few studies have focused on TB in young children, a vulnerable population, where lack of early diagnosis results in poor outcomes. Methods. Young children (≤5 years) with suspected TB were prospectively enrolled at a tertiary hospital in Pune, India. Detailed clinical evaluation, HIV testing, mycobacterial cultures, and drug susceptibility testing were performed. Results. 223 children with suspected TB were enrolled. The median age was 31 months, 46% were female, 86% had received BCG, 57% were malnourished, and 10% were HIV positive. 12% had TB disease (definite or probable), 35% did not have TB, while TB could not be ruled out in 53%. Extrapulmonary disease was noted in 46%, which was predominantly meningeal. Tuberculin skin test (TST) was positive in 20% of children with TB. Four of 7 (57%) children with culture-confirmed TB harbored drug-resistant (DR) strains of whom 2 (50%) were multi-DR (MDR). In adjusted analyses, HIV infection, positive TST, and exposure to household smoke were found to be significantly associated with children with TB (P ≤ 0.04). Mortality (at 1 year) was 3 of 26 (12%) and 1 of 79 (1%), respectively, in children with TB and those without TB (P < 0.05). Conclusions. Diagnosis of TB is challenging in young children, with high rates of extra-pulmonary and meningeal disease. While the data on DR-TB are limited by the small sample size, they are however concerning, and additional studies are needed to more accurately define the prevalence of DR strains in this vulnerable population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)