From September 1984 to December 1987, the children's tuberculosis clinic in Houston, TX, cared for 110 children with active tuberculosis. The median age was 24 months. Approximately one half of the cases were in Hispanic children, but one third were in black children. Only 11% were foreign-born. Diagnosis resulted from case contact investigation in 50% of cases, routine tuberculin screening in 6%, and evaluation of an ill child in 44%. Intrathoracic disease alone was present in 77% of cases, and extrathoracic disease in 23%, including involvement of the cervical and supraclavicular lymph nodes, meninges, brain, liver, and skin. Gastric aspirates yielded Mycobacterium tuberculosis from 39% of the children with pulmonary disease. Of six children infected with drug-resistant tuberculosis, two became critically ill before referral because the probability of resistance was not recognized by the referring physician. Presently, 94% of patients have successfully completed therapy, which has been shortened from 12 to 18 months to 6 to 9 months. However, 39% were noncompliant with treatment and required twice-weekly supervised therapy to complete treatment. Tuberculosis remains a serious cause of morbidity in children; specific expertise in obtaining cultures, selecting drugs, and assuring compliance is crucial for adequate results.
- Received June 8, 1988.
- Accepted July 18, 1988.
- Copyright © 1989 by the American Academy of Pediatrics