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Global Health
August 20, 2014

New Model Raises Estimates of Child Tuberculosis in High-Burden Countries

JAMA. 2014;312(7):687. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10320

More children get sick with tuberculosis (TB) than previous estimates from pediatric case reporting have indicated, according to a new approach to estimating childhood TB in countries with a high burden of the disease (Dodd PJ et al. Lancet Glob Health. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X[14]70245-1 [published online July 9, 2014]).

An international team of researchers developed a mechanistic mathematical model to estimate the rates of infection and disease in children, based on adult TB prevalence and country-specific data on household and population structure in 22 countries that are reported to harbor 80% of the global TB burden. Their model predicted that about 7.6 million children younger than 15 years became infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 2010 and roughly 650 000 of those developed TB. About 15 million children younger than 15 years were living in the same household as an adult with TB, and roughly 53 million children were estimated to have latent infection with M tuberculosis, which can progress to active TB.

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