Tuberculosis (TB), an infectious airborne disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is of vital public health concern when it occurs in any segment of the world’s population. Why is it that TB in children is of particular interest to the worldwide healthcare community? There are several reasons:
- Tuberculosis in children is a marker for recent exposure to an active case of the illness, since children, once infected, are more likely to get sick with TB disease, and to get sick more quickly.
- Many children with TB do not develop the classic symptoms and, therefore, it might be difficult to diagnose.
- It is difficult to collect sputum specimen from young children and infants. Additionally, the laboratory tests used to find TB in sputum are less likely to have a positive result in children due to the fact that children are more likely to have TB disease caused by a smaller number of bacteria.
- Infants and young children are more likely than adults to develop life threatening forms of the disease, such as disseminated TB and TB meningitis, the most serious complication in children that is fatal without treatment.
Given these issues, it is very important that health care providers be aware of current recommendations for the management of TB infection and TB disease in children and adolescents, and that they be knowledgeable on how to properly identify children and adolescents who should be tested for tuberculosis infection.
On March 24, 2017, at Breathe Pennsylvania’s Tuberculosis Education Conference, Dr. George D. McSherry will address the topic of “Tuberculosis in Children and Adolescents.” Dr. McSherry is Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Penn State Children’s Hospital. He has more than 20 years’ experience treating children with tuberculosis. Dr. McSherry also serves as a childhood tuberculosis consultant to multiple state and local health departments including the Pennsylvania Department of Health Tuberculosis Control Program.
The conference will be held at The University Club in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. To enroll for the conference, please visit www.breathepa.org.