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Tuberculosis In Children

Has your child been diagnosed with tuberculosis? Are you in need of tuberculosis information? This is a disease that is still evident in the present and treatment is available. When questions arise, it is very important to know where to find fast, reliable information. Read below where Experts have answered questions regarding tuberculosis.

What is tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) mainly affects the lung and can be a potentially serious infectious disease. The bacteria that cause this disease can be spread as tiny droplets are released through coughing and sneezing. The human body may harbor these bacteria but oftentimes the immune system can prevent sickness from occurring. 

A distinction in what kind of tuberculosis is present is helpful. There is latent and active tuberculosis. When latent TB is present this indicates that a TB infection is there but the bacteria remain inactive and no symptoms are seen. This form of TB is not contagious but can turn into active TB. Latent TB should still be treated so that the spread of this disease is controlled. When active TB is present the individual will exhibit symptoms of sickness and is contagious.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis in children?

Tuberculosis symptoms in children include:

The kidneys, brain, or other organs can also be affected. When TB occurs outside of the lungs, symptoms may be associated with whatever organ is involved such as spinal tuberculosis often has a symptom of back pain and renal tuberculosis may cause blood in the urine.

What does it mean if the site of a tuberculosis test is displaying a red circle and is it dangerous for children?

Diagnosis of tuberculosis in children is not fully reliant on the tuberculin test or Montaux test. With this test an inflammatory reaction is measured up to 72 hours after injection. The reaction consists of central indurated (firm/hard) zone that is surrounded by redness. The redness may not be as important as the measurement of the indurated area. The test may be positive for TB if the diameter of the indurated area is more than 10 or 15 millimeters. Even if this test shows a positive result other tests would be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

How is tuberculous meningitis related to tuberculosis?

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is actually a complication arising from tuberculosis. It occurs when the bacteria causing TB spreads to the brain through blood and lymphatics.

What could happen to a child if tuberculous meningitis is left untreated?

If TBM goes untreated it can evolve. Stage I has symptoms of fever, headache, irritability, and drowsiness. It can last for weeks. In stage II TBM symptoms include seizures, coma, hemiplegia, and cranial nerve palsies. It can occur 2-3 weeks after stage I.

Do children in the USA received BCG vaccine against tuberculosis?

In the USA, children are not vaccinated with the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis, due to the fact that there is a low risk of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. It is also not used as it can potentially interfere with the reactivity of tuberculin skin tests. This vaccine is reserved as a TB prevention strategy for those that meet specific criteria such as infants and children that live in areas where Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission is high and no other measures can be taken such as removing the child from the area. This vaccine, however, is not recommended for children that have human immunodeficiency virus infection and is rarely indicated in the USA.

What are the risk factors for children contracting tuberculosis?

There are a few common risk factors of TB. Foreign travel, exposure to people who frequently travel outside the country or an exposure to AIDS patients or prison inmates are common but these are not all the risk factors for contracting this disease. Testing and treatment are available if a child is found to be in a high risk factor category.

Tuberculosis in children, while scary to think about, is a disease that can be treated. You may find you need additional information about tuberculosis treatment, diagnosis, or complications when faced with the potential of your child contracting this disease. Ask Experts your tuberculosis questions from the comfort of your home and get the answers you need for peace of mind.

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