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Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs. It spreads through the air when a person with TB disease sneezes, coughs or talks. TB usually attacks the lungs, but it can also infect other areas of the body such as the brain, kidney, lymph nodes or spine.
Most TB cases in children are seen in those under the age of 5 years old and in adolescents aged 10 to 14 years old. Children with weakened immune systems (especially those with HIV) are at high risk for developing TB disease, but it can occur in children with no other health problems.
There are two types of tuberculosis:
Common symptoms of TB disease include:
The most common test for diagnosing tuberculosis is a TB skin test. For this test, a small amount of TB protein (antigens) is placed under the top layer of skin on your child’s inner forearm. A positive result indicates TB infection. In children 5 years old or older, blood tests can also be used to diagnose TB infection. Children with TB infection documented by a skin or blood test must have a full physical exam and chest X-ray completed to evaluate for TB disease in the lungs.
Most TB cases are cured with antibiotic medicines. The type of antibiotic and length of treatment depends on the:
The typical length of time for a course of TB antibiotics is six to nine months, but drug-resistant TB can take much longer to treat.
TB bacteria may develop resistance to antibiotics. It is important that the full course of medicine be taken in order for tuberculosis to be cured and to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.
For more information about tuberculosis, please visit the resources below:
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